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The Story Behind the Nazi Gold

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Essay title: The Story Behind the Nazi Gold

The Story Behind the Nazi Gold Nazi Gold: Hard currency

looted from treasuries of countries occupied by the Axis

powers during World War II. Ingots consisting of gold

melted down from the teeth of murder victims and

weddings bands and jewelry. About two thirds of an

estimated $660 million ($7.8 billion in today's dollars) in

stolen Nazi gold passed through Switzerland during the

war. And like any sharp businessmen with hot goods, the

Swiss disposed of much of their gold quickly - through

Portugal mainly, but also to Sweden, Spain, and other

central banks (Hirsh 48). Probably no more that $140

million remains unaccounted for, and a good portion of that

was probably sold onward as well. But what remains of the

known Nazi hoard (none of which has been returned to the

Jewish community) is worth no more than about $65 million

according to the Brussels-based Tripartite Gold

Commission, set up after World War II to return stolen

gold to national treasuries. Recently the Clinton

administration created a com! mission to search for any

Nazi funds that might have ended up in U.S. Federal

Reserve vaults. "We have to be willing not only to focus the

spotlight on Switzerland," says Under Secretary of

Commerce Stuart Eizenstat. "We have to be willing to

follow the trail of assets into our own treasury" (qtd. in

Hirsh 47). This trail though, suggests that there is no huge

stash of Nazi gold in Switzerland. The loot has scattered

worldwide through numerous transactions and is probably

irretrievable. Also, because so many banks were involved,

the amount of gold left in Wieckowski 2 Switzerland is

probably negligible, contrary to what investigators have

until now presumed. At this point the cost or returning the

Nazi Gold to its rightful owners is not worth the trouble and

inconvenience it would create. Documents released in

recent months have made it clear that Swiss banks traded

in looted Nazi-gold, and that Swiss businesses made a

fortune selling arms to the Nazis. In a historical report

published around May 9,1997, it was said that there was

no evidence that the Swiss or other neutral countries knew

that gold from the central banks had been smelted together

with gold fillings, wedding bands, and other jewelry stolen

from Holocaust victims (Sanger). But, Eizenstat found

"incontrovertible evidence" that Swiss bankers knew they

were trading in gold that Germany had looted

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