He was the son and heir of August Thyssen, owner of an empire of factories. During World War I the Thyssens were producing armament and ammunitions for the German army. By 1926, when Fritz inherited the empire, they controlled two thirds of Germany’s ore supplies. In 1930 he became the major financial supporter of the Nazi Party. He was also an ideological supporter, since he backed repression against trade unions and left-wing parties. However, he was in strong disagreement with the religious prosecutions of Jews. Following the Kristallnacht, Thyssen resigned to all his political offices and fled to Switzerland and then to France. Hitler confiscated all his property and demanded his capture. The Vichy government of occupied France promptly obeyed and Thyssen was sent to a concentration camp.
Thyssen was freed in 1945 but shortly afterwards arrested and convicted for being a former member of the Nazi Party. He lost about 15% of his property to war victims. He died in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1951.
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