Ford is sponsoring Schindler’s List on NBC this Sunday night — uninterrupted by commercials. When was the last time you saw three hours of commercial-free television?

I tell you this in part, of course, because it’s a wonderful film.

But what jumped out at me is that the sole sponsor is Ford. The original Henry Ford, as you may know, was anti-Semitic.

I’m sure he would never have gone so far as to condone Hitler’s policies. But what I had long assumed was just a casual bigotry on Ford’s part, backed by little actual thought on the matter, was in fact something bordering on obsession. I mean: he was really anti-Semitic. Hugely anti-Semitic.

I know this because one of the items in my little “historic documents” collection is a collection of newspaper columns financed by Henry Ford that appeared in the Dearborn Independent in 1920 and 1921. Reprinted in book form at his expense — four volumes — it is entitled THE INTERNATIONAL JEW: The World’s Foremost Problem, and inscribed, in his hand, “From your friend, Henry Ford.”

Hitler had Ford’s picture hanging on his wall.

One of the things that’s always struck me is how people are rarely all good or all bad. I like to think that — George Wallace-like — Henry Ford might be up there looking down (unless the standards are pretty high, and he’s down there looking up), thinking, “Well, I was wrong about that one. I’m glad my company has chosen to sponsor this movie.”

Monday: When to Sell?



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