Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2 Dec. 2014)
By: Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade (Author)
This report addresses a vital but relatively neglected dimension of the history of the Second World War and its aftermath, one that became the focus of intense political, diplomatic and media attention over the last year. It is a study of the past with implications for the future. The book documents one of the greatest thefts by a government in history: the confiscation by Nazi Germany of an estimated $580 million of central bank gold - around $5.6 billion in today’:s values - along with indeterminate amounts in other assets during World War II. These goods were stolen from governments and civilians in the countries Germany overran and from Jewish and non-Jewish victims of the Nazis alike, including Jews murdered in extermination camps, from whom everything was taken down to the gold fillings of their teeth. Our mandate from the President in preparing this report was to describe, to the fullest extent possible, U.S. and Allied efforts to recover and restore this gold and other assets stolen by Nazi Germany, and to use other German assets for the reconstruction of postwar Europe. It also touches on the initially valiant, but ultimately inadequate, steps taken by the United States and the Allies to make assets available for assistance to stateless victims of Nazi atrocities. It is in the context of this mandate that the report catalogues the role of neutral countries, whose acceptance of the stolen gold in exchange for critically important goods and raw materials helped sustain the Nazi regime and prolong its war effort. This role continued, despite several warnings by the Allies, even long past the time when these countries had any legitimate reason to fear German invasion. Among the neutral countries, Switzerland receives the most attention in the report. We have no desire to single out a country that is a robust democracy, a generous contributor to humanitarian efforts, and a valued partner of the United States today. But Switzerland figures prominently in any history of the fate of Nazi gold and other assets during and after World War II because the Swiss were the principal bankers and financial brokers for the Nazis, handling vast sums of gold and hard currency. Prepared by the chief Historian of the State Department, Dr. William Slany, the study is the product of an extraordinary seven-month effort on the part of eleven U.S. Government agencies, which I coordinated at President Clinton’:s request. All involved have worked tirelessly in beginning the process of reviewing 15 million pages of documentation in the National Archives. This represents the largest such effort ever undertaken using the Archives’: records, and it has required the declassification and transfer of more documents at one time - between 800,000 and one million pages - than ever before in the history of that repository. Those documents are now available to researchers for the first time.
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