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Highlights of U.S. Report on Nazi Gold

May 8, 1997
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The following are highlights of the U.S. report on Nazi gold released this week. The study, “U.S. and Allied Efforts to Recover and Restore Gold and Other Assets Stolen or Hidden by Germany During World War II,” caps a 7-month interagency review, which was overseen by U.S. Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat.

Among the report’s key findings:

Neutral countries “ignored repeated Allied entreaties to end their dealings with Nazi Germany.” Their trade “with the Third Reich had the clear effect of supporting and prolonging Nazi Germany’s capacity to wage war.”

Switzerland’s wartime role “was very mixed. It ended World War II as one of the wealthiest nations in Europe.”

Switzerland prolonged the war and the murder of Jews by supporting Germany’s “capacity to wage war.”

The U.S. secretaries of state and treasury lied to Congress after the war about the amount of Nazi gold in European banks.

The “inflexibility” of the Swiss banks “made it extremely difficult for surviving family members of Nazi victims to successfully file claims to secure bank records.”

Without “serious shortcomings” in U.S. policy, “it might have been possible to strike a better bargain on the looted gold and other German assets.”

Both the Swiss central bank and private Swiss bankers “knew, as the war progressed, that the Reichsbank’s own coffers had been depleted, and that the Swiss were handling vast sums of looted gold. The Swiss were aware of the Nazi gold heists” from the countries the Nazis overran.

There is no evidence that Switzerland or other countries, including the United States, knowingly accepted Holocaust victims’ gold.

Congress and state governments should consider subpoenaing private records to determine the fate of unclaimed assets in American banks of Holocaust victims.

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