It is the last great mystery of World War II: the unfinished, unprecedented search for what may be billions of dollars in cash, gold, property, and art hidden and unclaimed by victims of the Holocaust ? or plundered by the Nazis and their accomplices before shipping Jews to the death camps.
In 1938 Nazi Gestapos raided the homes of over 10,000,000 innocent Jews. Their houses were thrashed, possessions were stolen, and lives were torn for the benefit of ?one superior race.? None of these people ever received compensation for their misfortunes, but most of all they never regained their lives. They had switched their bank accounts to the neutral country of Switzerland. This was to ensure their money was still theirs, if by some chance they survived the terror known as the Holocaust. When all Jews were forced into mandatory concentration camps that money mysteriously fell into the hands of Swiss bank officials. The very few Jews that did survive the deathly concentration camps, were denied the hard earned money that was in the Swiss banks. These people have been fighting fifty years with bank officials to find if Switzerland still had their money. It has now become evident that billions of dollars are left in Swiss banks. Of these billions of dollars the few that survived the Holocaust have never seen a penny. These victims deserve the money they earned years ago. The families of those whose lives were taken deserve to get compensation for their ancestors. Holocaust victims and families of dead Holocaust victims must get compensation for being terrorized.
There are millions of dollars worth of Nazi gold in the United States and Great Britain, but most gold is stored in Switzerland. Two countries that were firmly against the dictatorship that was going on in Germany, took millions of dollars of stolen gold from that same country. The United States and Great Britain are said to have gold hidden in their central banks that was looted by Nazis , but Switzerland was the main destination for gold from the looting of the Nazis.
For years, Swiss bankers have denied having anything but minimal amounts of Nazi loot and unclaimed Jewish accounts in their vaults. ?There?s been a 50 year campaign of dissembling,? says Edgar Bronfman, the business mogul and president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), who leads the search for the hidden assets .
Over 50 years have passed and Switzerland has claimed they have minuscule amounts of Holocaust victims money. It wasn?t until someone dug very deep into Swiss banking archives known as the JAG files that the truth was found.
In one of those boxes, she found a copy of the Soci?#233 G?#233rale de Surveillance, a Geneva banking association. It listed names of Jewish nationals from Eastern Europe who had put their money into Swiss banks, with the amounts of their deposits. Translated into dollars and adjusted for inflation, the total came to about $20 billion.
It has been over 50 years since the Geneva Convention concluded WWII, and until 1996 Switzerland denied they even took any sort of money from the Nazis. When a nasty paper trail was followed, it was learned that more than $20 billion was hidden in Switzerland, Great Britain, and the United States.
But not one penny of the money stolen by Nazis has been returned to Holocaust victims. It has been over fifty years since Gestapos raided the homes of Holocaust victims. Almost seven million Jews were killed in Nazi concentration camps, but the estimated 600,000 survivors of the Holocaust have never received restitution payments from Germany. Some countries have overlooked Jewish concentration camp survivors, and gave money to prominent Nazi rulers.
The age of many of the as-yet-uncompensated victims if Nazi persecutions has given urgency to the task. Over the years, most of the victims have been overlooked while some perpetrators and their heirs have been rewarded. The German widow of prominent Nazi Julius Streicher, for instance, received a lump sum of 46,000 deutsche marks ($35,000) from the West German government as compensation for money her husband might have earned had he survived the war .
In this case the victim was overlooked and the criminal?s family was rewarded. Is this the way we are teaching our younger generations, that it actually pays to commit crime? We must get rid of these asinine actions. The real question that ponders is: What is being done in the future to correct the immoral actions?
After all of this came to the ?official? attention of the Unites States, Great Britain, and Switzerland there have been many actions. The United Stated Department of Commerce hired Stuart E. Einzenstat to give a report concerning the gold and money deposited by the German Nazis during the 1930?s and 40?s. The Einzenstat Report, with the help of the Bergier Commission, found that Swiss banks handled 76% of Nazi Germany?s gold transactions. From this:
Three class action lawsuits have been brought against Switzerland?s banks on behalf of Holocaust victims and their heirs. In March 1997 a Brooklyn Federal judge ruled that the lawsuits be consolidated and they will be administered by a 10-member executive committee. There are thousands of plaintiffs in these lawsuits seeking billions of dollars.7
After long deliberation between Swiss bank officials and lawyers on August 12, 1998 they reached a settlement:
Swiss commercial banks agree to pay Holocaust survivors and their relatives more than $1.25 billion over the next three years to end claims that Swiss banks had withheld millions of dollars since World War II. The accord involves the banks UBS and Credit Suisse. As part of the settlement, the plaintiffs agree to drop a lawsuit against the Government-owned Swiss National Bank. Many U.S. states and cities had threatened sanctions on the Swiss banks if they had not agreed to an appropriate settlement.7
Finally an end was brought to something that went on far to long. At least the Swiss commercial banks owned up to their wrong. But the United States and Great Britain didn?t. The Eizenstat Report concluded that the United States and Great Britain had little or no involvement in money deposited from Nazi Germany. The real question one must ask is: What?s the Deal? It seems as the United State?s and Great Britain?s governments don?t want to own up to what they have done. I guess they figure the main culprit was apprehended so don?t worry about the rest. All governments that were involved should have to pay restitution for what they did.
. World War II was a war that was supposedly fought for the good of all mankind to rid the world of horrendous governments. But appears that its after effects include more than was portrayed. It was also a war of conspiracy, cover-ups, and cheating. Over $20 billion in gold was stolen from Holocaust victims, and none of them have been given anything to compensate their losses. These losses mostly are centered around the lives of 6 million Jews that were killed in concentration camps. ?They can?t bring those people back but they can at least give back to my mother, in her 80?s, her wealth, her history, and her standing.? It is about time any government that oppressed those that were involved with the holocaust own up to their responsibility. It was originally thought that Great Britain and the United states had also participated in taking golden deposits from Nazi Germany, but when Switzerland was found guilty, the United States and Great Britain claimed victory. It was a victory, yes, but all of the culprits need to be found and punished. Investigations must not stop until every wrongdoing country is penalized for their actions.
Abegg, Ernst. ?Bank Report Shows Officials Traded Accusations About Nazi Gold.?
Source Breaking News. September 19, 1996. p. 60 ? 75
Chesnoff, Richard. ?Fifty Years Too Late, a Reckoning.? US News & World Review.
March 17, 1997. p. 110 ? 120
Chesnoff, Richard. ?The Last Mystery of World War II.? US News & World Review.
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Marks John. ?What the Nazis Stole.? US News & World Review. March 17, 1999. p.
90 ? 100
McGeary, Johanna. ?Echoes of the Holocaust.? Time Magazine. February 24, 1997. p.
40 ? 51
PBS and WGBH/Frontline. ?Frontline: Nazi Gold.? Frontline.
http://www,pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/nazis/ . Copyright 1998.
Accessed November 22, 1999.