World War II in the News is a review of WWII articles providing thought-provoking collection of hand-picked WW2 information.

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Banks & the Nazis

How banks supported the Nazis before and during the Second World War - And how they hid Holocaust victims's money after the war.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.

Records reveal how Bank of England helped Nazis sell gold stolen from Czechs
Bank of England records detailing its involvement in the transfer and sale of gold stolen by Nazis after the invasion of Czechoslovakia were revealed recently. The gold had been deposited during the 1930s with the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), the so-called Central Banker's bank, as the Czechoslovak government faced a growing threat from Nazi Germany. The document goes on to detail how a request was made in March 1939 to transfer gold, then worth £5.6m, from a Czech National Bank account at the BIS to an account operated by Germany's Reichsbank. Some £4m of the gold went to banks in the Netherlands and Belgium, while the rest was sold in London.

Israel seeks the owners of 55,000 unclaimed Holocaust victims’ assets
After World War I, Jews began investing in the dream of a homeland. While living abroad they started buying real estate, opening bank accounts and buying artwork in the Land of Israel. Tragically, many of these Zionist Jews would never get the chance to arrive in Israel because they perished at the hands of the Nazis. So what has happened to their investments? Over the years, as survivors and their descendents have discovered their family's assets, and unsuccessfully tried to reclaim them. The public outcry was so great that Israel set up The Company for Restitution of Holocaust Victims' Assets. Site:

Christoph Meili, security guard who revealed how Swiss banks hid Nazi gold
In 1997 Christoph Meili - a night guard at the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) - discovered that officials were destroying files about orphaned assets - credit balances of deceased Jewish clients whose heirs' whereabouts were unknown. Also in the shredding room were books from the German Reichsbank - listing stock accounts for companies involved in the holocaust, and real-estate records for Berlin property that had been seized by the Nazis, placed in Swiss accounts, and claimed to be owned by UBS. Meili handed the bank files over to a Jewish group - and became so hated that he was granted political asylum in the US.

US Court: Holocaust survivors cannot sue Vatican Bank for storing millions of Nazi blood money
An American appeals court dismissed a case by Holocaust survivors who alleged the Vatican bank accepted millions of dollars of their valuables looted by Nazi sympathizers. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco maintained a lower court ruling that said the Vatican bank was immune from such a case under the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which protects foreign countries from being sued in US courts. Holocaust survivors had filed suit against the Vatican bank, saying it stored and laundered the looted assets of thousands of Jews, Serbs and Gypsies who were killed by the Nazi-backed Ustasha regime that controlled Croatia.

Bank called account "worthless", but Holocaust victim's sons to get NIS 400,000
Michael Eisenbud was a 13-year-old boy in Lithuania in 1936 when his father attended a Zionist doctors' conference in Palestine and opened an account at the Anglo-Palestine Bank. In 1941, after the Wehrmacht invaded Lithuania, his father was shot. In 1973 Eliezer Eisenbud asked the bank, by then Bank Leumi, about the account. "...we were told that due to the lira's devaluation the money was worth very little and wasn't even worth issuing an inheritance order for." In 2005 the brothers appealed to the Knesset Inquiry Committee for the Location and Restitution of Assets of Holocaust Victims, and got NIS 300,000 - 70% of the account's value.

Belgium's banks and government to pay Holocaust survivors $170 million
David Susskind made it by fleeing to Switzerland, and joining the French Resistance. When he traveled back to Belgium after the war, he had nothing. His mother died in the Nazi death camp. Strangers lived in his home. "We lost everything. There was nothing." Now Belgium's banks and government sought to make material amends, declaring $170 million in restitution for the Jewish community and families of Holocaust survivors whose goods were looted by Nazi occupiers. $54m will be paid to individual claimants, with the rest going to a Jewish trust that will help the poor and keep the memory of the WWII horrors alive.

Pius XII: The Tainted Saint - Vatican Bank handled looted funds   (Article no longer available from the original source)
While the debate about proposed sainthood for Pius XII rages, a lawsuit pending since 1999 against the Vatican Bank may prove the case for or against Pius. The lawsuit, Alperin v. Vatican Bank, filed in San Francisco and backed by a coalition of Serbian, Jewish, Roma and Ukrainian individuals and organizations seeks compensation for Axis plunder from Yugoslavia laundered through the Vatican Bank in 1946, well after the atrocities of World War II were revealed in full. In addition to the money and gold, the Vatican also sheltered the top Ustasha leadership including wanted war criminals.

Beneficiaries of Nazi regime: Profits from Third Reich's war machine
The "beneficiaries" of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime that come to mind are the industrialists and the bankers and the military suppliers who reaped a dozen years of profits from the Third Reich's war machine. But German historian Götz Aly lays out a much broader field of people in his study, "Hitler's Beneficiaries"-- the "ordinary Germans" whose complicity in Hitler's war, right up to its death throes is still mystifying. In analyzing the economic benefits received by those middle- and working-class Germans, Aly suggests an answer to why they supported the nazi regime and its war, tacitly, if not ardently.

Nazi Germany and Switzerland - History book stirs up Swiss anger
A new history book is causing controversy in Switzerland, because of its treatment of the country's role during World War II. The traditional view is of the plucky little country which mined its tunnels and alpine passes, sent every able-bodied man to guard the borders, and stared down Adolf Hitler. "There was a myth that Switzerland wasn't attacked because of the well-armed army." said history teacher Paul Bitschnau. But in the 1990s that changed: Questions were asked about relations with Nazi Germany, what happened to certain bank accounts. "Some Swiss joined the SS, others tried to kill Hitler."

Pair sues bank over link to Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany
A couple has sued Deutsche Bank National Trust, claiming it should have disclosed its ties to Nazi regime, Nazi atrocities and its relationship with Adolf Hitler before they agreed to use its services. The couple did not know at the time of the Nazi connection that the company has acknowledged. A spokesman said the company does not comment this case, but it provided a statement acknowledging the bank's connections to the Nazis. It states that Deutsche Bank has tried to make restitution by establishing a foundation to meet what it calls its "moral responsibilities."

Hitler's Willing Bankers
Like many German firms, Dresdner Bank hoped after WWII its unsavory activities during the Third Reich would be forgotten. But an unparalleled company-sponsored research effort shows Germany's second largest bank supported the Nazi regime much more actively than had been previously thought. Perhaps one of the most damning associations for Dresdner is its close ties to Heinrich Himmler's SS. The bank was the most important private lender for the Nazi organization and played a key role for its operations in occupied Europe, essentially acting as the bank of the SS in Poland.

Dresdner, Financier of Hitler's SS, Lifts Curtain on Nazi Past
Dresdner Bank AG controlled a company that helped build Auschwitz, according to a report on the bank's Nazi past. Dresdner also bankrolled Adolf Hitler's SS. "The study shows the bank unconditionally followed the racist and imperialistic goals of the Nazi regime." Dresdner is releasing a 2,400-page report compiled by independent researchers who sifted through once sealed company records. Frankfurt-based Dresdner follows companies such as carmaker Volkswagen AG, chemical producer Degussa AG and clothier Hugo Boss AG in appointing researchers to probe their links to the Third Reich.

New links between Dresdner Bank and Nazis   (Article no longer available from the original source)
A historical study of Dresdner Bank's involvement in the Holocaust has turned up previously unknown links between the German bank, now a subsidiary of the Allianz insurance group, and the Nazis. Led by historian Klaus-Dietmar Henke, the team discovered that Dresdner was a major shareholder in Huta, a construction company that helped build the Auschwitz death camp. Dresdner opened its archives to the historians from 1997 for the research, which also gave more contour to Dresdner's provision of banking services to the SS, the Nazi Party's separate armed force. The SS mainly banked at Dresdner and its top leaders obtained accounts with Dresdner on favourable terms.

Lawsuit: The Vatican Bank profited from looting, funded Nazi escape to South America
The US Supreme Court allowed Holocaust survivors to proceed with a lawsuit claiming that the Vatican Bank and a Franciscan religious order profited from property stolen by Croatia's pro-Nazi WWII government. The suit claimed the Order of Friars Minor conspired with the Vatican Bank to facilitate the transfer of gold and other looted valuable assets - property stolen from victims of Croatia's brutal Ustasha regime from 1941 to 1945. The lawsuit claimed that the stolen property was used after the war to help Nazi war criminals escape from Europe to South America.

Belgian holocaust survivor to sue Monaco
Jean Geismar has been fighting for the past 10 years for Monaco to recognize its involvement in the deportation of Jews. His relatives left Belgium after the German invasion in 1941. In March 1944, after three years of residency in Monaco, they were arrested and sent to Drancy, the French transit camp. From there, they were sent to Auschwitz and never came back. An official document shows that the couple was in possession of various valuable objects and receipts from a Monaco bank. "However, neither the authorities nor the bankers want to recognize these official documents," Geismar said.

US banks named in Holocaust suit
Lawyers acting on behalf of victims of the Jewish holocaust and their families have accused two US banks of seizing their wealth during the Nazi occupation of France. The families filed a class-action lawsuit against two leading banks, Chase Manhattan and JP Morgan, alleging that they were complicit in the seizure of wealth stolen from Jews as they were transported to death camps. Lawyers claim that Chase Manhattan's Paris operation was closely allied with the Nazi regime and thrived on its patronage. They also allege that JP Morgan openly boasted of its anti-Jewish record and policies.

Argentina 'held Nazi gold'
Argentina's central bank stands accused of holding Nazi gold after WWII. Researchers investigating the activities of the Nazis in Argentina say they have obtained a letter signed by the country's former foreign minister, saying he asked for the gold to be deposited in the bank in 1946. Until then, the money was being held for the Germans by the Swiss embassy in Buenos Aires. "For the first time we do have Argentine evidence that Argentina was the recipient of Nazi gold," said research co-ordinator of the commission of inquiry on Nazi activities in Argentina.