Further Readings  & Exploration

The Eizenstat Report (May  7, 1997)


Available at either :The U.S. Dept of Commerce Web site , or at The U.S. Holocaust Museum Web site.

The best investigative work to date on what happened to the possible billions of dollars in gold and other asssets plundered by Nazi Germany. This U.S. government study is a readable, disturbing history of a chapter of World War II that has been ignored for half a century.

Officially called the "U.S. and Allied Efforts to Recover and Restore Gold and other Assets Stolen or Hidden by Germany During WWII," it is based on a seven-month long effort by eleven U.S agencies who poured through 15 million pages of U.S. records. Directed by Undersecretary of Commerce Stuart E. Eizenstat and the State Department's chief historian, William Slaney, the report is harshly critical of Switzerland's wartime dealings with theThird Reich saying, "in the unique circumstances of World War II neutrality collided with morality." In addition, the report establishes that long after the war's end, Swiss banks still clung obstinately to Nazi gold deposits looted from the banks of occupied Europe and the victims of the Holocaust.

Switzerland's  Formal Response to the Eizenstat report

In this seven-page "declaration of the Swiss Federal Council" the Council asserts that the conclusions of the Eizenstat report are "unsupported," its assessments are "one sided," and that it goes beyond history and into "political and moral values" concerning transactions between Switzerland and Nazi Germany.

The Council also rejected the charge that "the neutral countries may have prolonged the Third Reich's ability to wage war by trading with it" and says there is no support for this charge. While acknowleging some mistakes were made - such as Switzerland's wartime refugee policy and, "questonable deals" between Swiss businesses and the Nazis - the Swiss Federal Council's statement says any balanced review would vindicate Swiss behavior during the war because it was the only way to guarantee its survival: "neutrality led to a difficult tightrope walk between adaptation and resistance."

The Sinister Face of Neutrality

This 9-page 1996 report by the World Jewish Congress chronicles how an inquiry into dormant bank accounts of Holocaust victims ended up becoming a major international investigation into Switzerland's overall dealings with Nazi Germany and its wartime neutrality.

Defenders of Switzerland: Letters & Testimonies "The Swiss had their Villains--and their Heroes" - Louis Rene Beres

"The Swiss Were Prepared to Fight Fascism to the Bitter End" - Stephen P. Halbrook

"Eternally Grateful" - Leopold G. Koss

Switzerland on Trial

Former U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland Faith Whittlesey here presents a defense against charges that Switzerland colluded with Nazi Germany. She maintains the accusations are "false and shallow accounts" of Swiss history and explains how Switzerland's actions must be evaluated in the context of other nations' actions during World War II and, the dire threat that Switzerland faced.


Atlantic Unbound

The Atlantic Monthly offers here several articles which they've published over the past forty years covering Europe's Nazi past. The earliest article included ("Loot for the Master Race," September 1946), focuses on the Nazi looting of European art and Hermann Goring's obsession "to become a latter-day Medici." Another article looks at an organization which is pressing a new unified Germany to give compensation to the victims of the Nazi holocaust.

Journal de Geneve et Gazette de Lausanne

Explore this Web site for a perspective on the Swiss press and public's response to the Nazi gold controversy. Click on the "Forum" section , then go to "Dossier." There you can access the current Roundtable - "The Ongoing Debate is Forcing Switzerland to Rethink Its Relations with the Rest of the World on the Jewish Funds Controversy." It conveys some of the soul searching, debate and Swiss defensiveness about the growing condemnation of Switzerland's wartime role. This Web site also contains Swiss editorials and articles by reporters/commentators such as, "The Amateurishness of Swiss Authorities" or , "What Goes Through a Swiss Banker's Mind When Questioned About Jewish Funds..."

The Jerusalem Post:

Israel's largest newspaper offers several articles related to Holocaust survivors' search for wartime assets and bank accounts To retrieve the latest articles, perform a search for "Holocaust" and "Swiss."

Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

"Switzerland-Second World War"
The "Topics in Debate" section offers Swiss statements on the controversy and some official reactions to the scathing Eizenstat report. Other sections to explore are: "What are the Issues?" and 'What has been Done?" which lists Swiss groups investigating Holocaust era assets.

Swiss Embassy Home Page

This page provides the usual press releases, official reports and statements, and a pamphlet about the dormant bank accounts written by the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce. For those interested in the controversy about compensation agreements negotiated between Switzerland and East Bloc countries, there's a detailed (and rather dense) report on this commissioned by one of the newly-created Swiss Task Forces .

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