Cover image for Nazi gold : the real story of how the world plundered Jewish treasures
Nazi gold : the real story of how the world plundered Jewish treasures
Carpozi, George.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Far Hills, NJ : New Horizon Press, [1999, [that is, 1998]

©1999, [that is, 1998]
Physical Description:
xx, 460 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HG3204 .C37 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
HG3204 .C37 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Recent news about Switzerland's part in helping finance the Nazi war machine has sent shock waves through Europe. Now, prizewinning investigative journalist George Carpozi, Jr. unveils a mammoth work--part detective thriller, part authoritative analysis which exposes the rest of the story.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Thanks to recent public pressure on Swiss banks and the declassification of intelligence documents, researchers now have more information than ever on how the Nazis stole and hid Jewish wealth. Carpozi, a former New York Post reporter, presents his book as the definitive account of the Nazis' looting of Europe, but disorganization and bad writing ruin his attempt at an all-encompassing indictment. Carpozi's research is thorough: he not only shows how neutral countries such as Switzerland hoarded wealth stolen from Holocaust victims but also demonstrates that even the Allies stashed away Jewish money and refused to return it to survivors after the war. Yet he makes little attempt to integrate the pieces of the puzzle and offers almost no analysis of historical context. The choppy text (many paragraphs consist of only a sentence or two) shifts between countries and back and forth in time in an endeavor to establish narrative pace. While Carpozi lists 11 pages of references, many of those sources are newspaper articles he simply quotes verbatim. Anecdotes about Holocaust survivors are thrown into the preface and the second chapter, then forgotten, when they could have added a human element to the political developments discussed later in the book. Exclamations such as "It is impossible to put the clock back!" and references to the "thieving Nazis" give the whole work a sensational tone. A subject this complicated deserves better treatment. Photos. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Carpozi here attempts to tie together threads of the financial victimization of the Jews around the world during and after the Holocaust. His book is not to be confused with Tom Bower's superior Nazi Gold (LJ 5/15/97), which helped blow the lid off the Swiss bankers' swindle of Holocaust survivors. The first part of Carpozi's book reconstructs the Swiss banking scandal that Jean Ziegler told more compellingly in The Swiss, the Gold and the Dead (LJ 3/1/98). Worse, in a chapter entitled "Well-Known Facts," Carpozi has the United States declaring war on Germany in 1941 instead of the other way around. He also writes that Hitler committed suicide in 1944 instead of 1945. Factual mistakes make it hard to take seriously Carpozi's more original material in the second half. In one of the shortest chapters ever written, he introduces the interesting allegation that Ford's European operation used slave labor but devotes less than a page to it. In addition, Carpozi's tortured writing ("...Ribbentrop, who was glomming case he'd have to go on the lam") is more at home at the New York Post and Star magazine, to which he contributes, than in a serious book. Not recommended.‘Randall L. Schroeder, Wartburg Coll. Lib., Waverly, IA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One Suspicions of Thievery     Gold from Austria, Czechoslovakia, and the independent city of Danzig had already been appropriated by the Nazis when Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939. According to the British Ministry of Economic Warfare based on correspondence between them, the Treasury, and Bank of England officials, ninety-seven million dollars had come to the Reichsbank just when it was almost broke. The bank had already defaulted on loans, exhausted its credit, and antagonized the international Jewish community. To gain needed materials, Germany had to barter. Her economic base, despite her efforts to boost productivity and stockpile essential raw materials, was in deep trouble. More gold was desperately needed to fund the plans the Nazis were making.     This was a goal the British had to foil.     To do it, Britain needed to monitor Germany's gold acquisitions and determine how, when, and where they would be funneled. An economic blockade, to be successful, would have to stop the Germans from purchasing vital raw materials for the production of armaments and war supplies.     There's no clear clue to pinpoint precisely when the world first became aware of Adolf Hitler's confiscation of persecuted Jewish citizens' gold.     However, March 1940 can stand as the date when the United States became "officially" aware that an atrocity had occurred on the European continent more than twenty months before the Japanese strike against the American fleet in Pearl Harbor.     On March 20 of that year a cablegram was dispatched from American personnel in Berlin to the State Department in Washington describing the forced movement of Jewish people from Germany to Poland. The wire warned that the moneys the emigrants were carrying might be confiscated at the border.     But details were woefully lacking and the true severity of the situation was never transmitted to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had to rely on other sources for scanty information about Hitler's treatment of Germany's Jewish citizens. By then, World War II had been under way for almost eight months.     The United States ambassador to London at the time was Joseph P. Kennedy, who had held the post since 1937. Kennedy had sired a family of three daughters and four sons, one of whom, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, became President in 1962.     Ambassador Kennedy, who had been openly advocating a wish to see the United States avert any confrontation with Nazi Germany and, indeed, was promoting a policy of appeasement, was stunned when Hitler unleashed his ground and air forces against Poland in the invasion that exploded into war.     A few days earlier, Kennedy had been handed a secret message from Alex Kirk, the chargé d'affaires at the United States Embassy in Berlin, that there would be war within a week. The note was conveyed to London by Kennedy's son Jack. The future president was returning to England after being dispatched by his father on a "fact-finding tour of Europe to determine the feelings of the populace about Germany's seeming bent to start a war for territorial gains that it had long coveted."     The elder Kennedy's stance in favoring an alliance with Germany was well known by then. That posture, as the ambassador viewed it, "would lead to international peace and prosperity and result in having America become the largest beneficiary of such a move ... To put in a billion or two now will be worth it, for if it works we will get it back and more."     Meanwhile, England's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain who had done nothing about Hitler's invasion of Poland was succeeded in office by Winston Churchill. With the declaration of war by England, the German Luftwaffe began round-the-clock bombing of Britain.     Hitler's air attacks followed a series of catastrophic events put into motion by the Axis powers, including the collapse of France and the Russian invasion of the Baltic Republics and of Rumania. Britain literally stood alone in Europe as the last democracy that was actively resisting the swiftly charging ground and air forces of the Third Reich.     Although Churchill's intrepidness against the Nazi hordes and his oratory inspired the people of England and of America, Ambassador Kennedy still tried to convince President Roosevelt that England had no chance to survive the war. He persisted in his entreaties that the United States make a deal with Hitler to settle the conflict.     Even before the invasion of Poland, as was explained, the White House was receiving small bits of information about the forced movement of Jewish people from Germany to Poland as well as warnings that the moneys and other valuables they were carrying were possibly being confiscated at the border by storm troopers. Although the German government offered assurances that no steps were being taken to confiscate the property of enemy aliens of Jewish origin, it was reliably established that German Jews as well as Jewish citizens of countries overrun by Nazi forces were not that fortunate.     Long before the Reich Citizenship Law of 1941 was codified, the working principles of the law had become common practice: All German Jews who left Germany were deprived both of their citizenship and their property.     The restrictions that were incorporated into that law applied to all Jewish people being deported to Poland and German-occupied territories of the Soviet Union, as well as Jews who escaped to Allied or neutral countries.     In the findings of the study U.S. and Allied Efforts to Recover and Restore Gold and Other Assets , Department of State chief historian Slany spoke understandingly about "the unique circumstances of World War II [whereby] neutrality collided with morality; too often being neutral provided a pretext for avoiding moral considerations. Historically a well-established principle in international law, neutrality served through centuries of European wars as a legitimate means by which smaller nations preserved their political sovereignty and economic viability.     "But it is painfully clear that Argentina, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and other neutral countries were slow to recognize and acknowledge that this was not just another war. Some never did. Nazi Germany was a mortal threat to Western civilization itself, and had it been victorious, to the survival of even the neutral countries themselves."     The thoroughly researched 212-page report contains a foreword written by Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stuart E. Eizenstat, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton to be special envoy of the State Department on property restitution in Central and Eastern Europe. Eizenstat's first effort was to appoint Dr. Slany, the State Department historian, to conduct the study.     Slany immediately recruited eleven principal participants to carry out the mandate "to describe to the fullest extent possible, United States and Allied efforts to recover and restore 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.     "America itself remained a non-belligerent for over two years following the outbreak of the war in Europe," Eizenstat wrote.     "Restrictive United States immigration policies kept hundreds of thousands of refugees from finding safety in the United States, most tragically exemplified by our refusal to allow the [mercy ship] St. Louis to dock with its cargo of refugees--many of whom perished after the vessel was forced to return to Europe.     "Nevertheless, the United States froze German assets in April 1940 (twenty months before entering the war), conducted little trade and commerce with Nazi Germany, and generously assisted Britain, the Soviet Union, and the anti-Nazi cause--despite fierce domestic opposition--through programs like Lend-Lease." Copyright © 1999 George Carpozi, Jr.. All rights reserved.