Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Probe Clears Bank of Canada of Laundering Looted Nazi Gold

January 5, 1998
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A professor’s research has cleared the Bank of Canada of suspicion that it laundered gold looted by the Nazis.

The bank launched the investigation in July after a U.S. intelligence document was released indicating that the central banks of Switzerland and Portugal used the Bank of Canada to exchange and transfer looted gold that they had purchased from the German central bank.

Canadian Jewish groups, which had demanded the inquiry, praised the report’s findings.

“No gold held in Canada physically left the country until after the war,” said Irving Abella, a past president of the Canadian Jewish Congress.

Professor Duncan McDowall, who was appointed by the bank to investigate the charges, found that “Canada played a major role in the earmarking of foreign gold for safekeeping at the Bank of Canada” during the war.

“For many nations that had fallen under German occupation, this cache of safe gold was the ultimate guarantee of national survival,” wrote McDowall, who teaches at Canada’s Carleton University. “In particular, the central banks of Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Norway and Poland availed themselves of this unique type of Canadian wartime hospitality.”

McDowall’s 120-page report also found that the Bank of England transferred gold to the Bank of Canada during the war.

Recommended from JTA