Reaction & Discussion
what are your views?


I was pretty horrified at the one-sided presentation of your show. It seems that people are interpreting the Swiss peoples actions during the war by using today's "politically correct" standards - and not considering what was happening at the time. It is very easy for us to sit here today, all safe and sound, and say "well I would have done this or that." I'm sure the reality of that time would have been very different.

Note that the U.S. was not that perfect either - they traded with the Germans up until they got involved in the war. The U.S. also turned away Jews. There is documentation of them turning away a huge shipful of Jews.

The Germans did what they did to the Jews because of Hitler and his men - NOT because of Switzerland. The blame remains with Hitler - not the people in a neutral country.

Fairfax, VA


I was very impressed at your documentary on Nazi Gold on Tuesday June 17, 1997. It seems impossible to be neutral about anything after seeing such a show. The polarization of left versus right was dramatically portrayed resulting in the destruction of millions while others profited by it all proclaiming neutrality. If the Jews had been armed they could have protected themselves. If the Swiss hadn't funded the Germans, it could have ended much sooner. Lives could have been saved all around including our own. Justice must be served and the money returned to the survivors!

Unfortunately the seeds seam to be currently sowing for another repeat of this tragedy, possibly right here in our own country! Whatever awards are possible in your industry for such journalism should be easily won by your crew. The photography was astounding and narration superb. I cried several times at those scenes especially the old grainy film of a child trying to be close to his mother as the officer kept kicking her away! I'm almost to tears just writing this thinking about it! Yet this continues to occur today with the millions of abortions to date that are in reality a more heinous crime than what Hitler himself has done! Someone totally innocent, safe in a mothers womb as armed militia invade and destroy and profit thereby! And all for totally selfish reasons!

For convenience. How long will we remain neutral with this? How long will God continue to allow such depravity? I have always enjoyed your program in the past and will continue to watch it and recommend it in the future.


We applaud PBS & WGBH for the production and showing of "Nazi Gold." Sure, there remain unanswered questions, but what is clear even now is the stonewalling of the Swiss bankers concerning the accounts of individuals who trusted them to preserve and protect their assets as they faced the horror of deportation, imprisonment, and death at the hands of the Nazis ruling Germany in the Thirties.

Programs such as this one raise awareness of all the ramifications of the Holocaust, including the reactions of supposedly neutral countries.

Ernest & Gabriella Schlesinger
New London, CT


I think Switzerland's involvement with the Nazi's is horrible, but not surprising. I have yet to learn and hear about a "civilized" country that has not participated in heinous crimes against people, all in an effort to become wealthy and powerful. The U.S. is mimicking the Swiss involvement right now in their support of Indonesia annihilating the people of Timor. I pray that someday our leaders will become role models and work to save all people--not only themselves.

Rebecca House
Suquamish WA


I am a Swiss myself but I have to say that I am shocked regarding my governments actions during W.W.II. What I learned through you documentary has left me with sadness and compassion in my heart for those who suffered because of the Swiss. My grandmother lived in Zurich during the war. She used to tell me stories regarding that time. They often contradicted to what we learned from school history books. Today I am certain her accounts were real. Most countries have a burden of injustice to carry: Europe for its colonies, the US for slavery and the killings of Native Americans. For Switzerland this is a completely new situation. Never before have accusations like this existed. But perhaps what we all need to lear is how to handle our past and to acknowledge truthfully what others before us have created.



The program was truly outstanding! I congratulate you on raising, by implication, a whole series of moral and ethical dilemmas regarding Swiss actions during the war. Although some of the Swiss officials who were interviewed claimed that there was a moral basis for Swiss collaboration with the Nazis, it was not surprising that no one was able to articulate the exact nature of the alleged moral basis. Moral bankruptcy was the real reason for Swiss actions. Whereas in other countries, such as France, Italy, and Poland, individuals risked their lives and those of their families to join the Resistance and fight the horror, it appears that for the Swiss, their sole moral imperative was self preservation. In Denmark, the entire country, refused to comply with Nazi demands. Clearly, the Swiss owe a staggering moral and financial debt to the Allies, to those who died fighting the Nazis, to the victims of the Holocaust, and to Holocaust survivors and their descendants.

Even today, many Germans have come to deal with the horror their government inflicted; however, the Swiss appear to be in total denial. "Neutral" is not an appropriate term to describe Swiss actions during the war: they were no different than the Vichy French. I hope that you will follow the program up with a sequel which also focuses on additional details concerning what the U.S. and other Allied intelligence knew about Swiss collaboration.

Chicago, IL


I am disturbed by what appears to be an single-minded effort by the author of this program to present his view, viz. a vilification and indictment of Switzerland. Where, for example, was there mention of the two earlier post-war efforts of Swiss banks to encourage survivors to claim their assets? Why was there no mention of the "courier" system used by Jews to deposit their assets and the inherent problems of fraud resulting from this system following the end of the war?

As in most situations, the problem depicted by Frontline is not as one-dimensional as Frontline would like us all to believe. While I believe that acts of inhumanity and patent theft undoubtedly were committed by Swiss during and after the war, I am concerned the incipient bias of Frontline's presentation invariably gives those that will an excuse for categorically denying the germ of truth that is indeed Switzerland's shame.

Gainesville, FL


The program "Nazi Gold" condemned Switzerland for their sneaky cooperation with Nazis during WW2. I suppose most Swiss would respond to this by saying "we had to survive too from Nazis". Clearly any Jew would see this kind of defense immoral. Yet today The State of Israel cooperates militarily with Turkey- a country that during 1915 slaughtered 1.5 million Armenians. Where is the outrage from Jewish community that they are dealing with a country that does not even have civility to acknowledge the fact that 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered by Turks. Are we going to apply different standard for Israel dealing with devil in the name of "survival"?

Kirkor Ender
Dallas, TX


Bravo to PBS and frontline for another excellent investigation.

The evidence is irrefutable. Swiss individuals collaborated and, indeed, provided invaluable financial and manufacturing services for the Nazi war effort. In addition, the Swiss banking community was party to the looting of Jewish property and the embezzlement of Jewish bank accounts.

By admitting wrongdoing, the Swiss government has taken the right first step. Now it is incumbent upon the government and banking community to repay, without reservation, amounts owing to survivors of the holocaust. Anything less will leave a cloud of guilt upon the heads of all Swiss people- a legacy that I am sure the people would not desire.

Ryan Franco
Atlanta, GA


I hope that Frontline's other documentaries which I usually appreciated and accepted as fact were not biased as this show turned out to be. I spent all the 6 long war years in Switzerland, and also served in their army and I know for sure that you (PBS) mouthed so many untruths, half truths & insinuations that were uttered by people who do not know first hand. Granted, there were many things done then which most Swiss would be ashamed of now looking with 20/20 hindsight; but you reporters have no idea what it is when you are totally surrounded by an Evil Empire shying away from no atrocity.

The first human reaction is to make sure that your family stays safe. The first obliga- tion of a country's government is to protect its citizens.

The whole army was clearly anti-Nazi, as were at least 90% of the people. In my home town, we housed thousands of Jewish refugees, and several went through public school with me. The top man in the Swiss army, General Guisan, was solidly anti- Hitler; but there was indeed one very detested Federal Councilor (Pilet-Golaz) who sympathized with Hitler.

Some Swiss banks may have appropriated money for which they might have found the proper owners or their heirs after the war, but where is the country where ALL banks and businesses always behave in a morally irreprehensible way? Yes, many Swiss banks owe the Jewish people an acknowledgment of guilt and restitution, but for PBS to do this like a witch hunt, with innuendo, hearsay, and downright wrong accusations is - to say the least - very disappointing.



I was very troubled by the entire program. All my life I had accepted, without question, the "neutral" position taken by the Swiss. Now I see that there is no such thing as being neutral in a war between good and evil. You must be on one side or the other: there is no neutral zone. I am very disturbed that the Swiss government is fighting so hard to cover their actions. They should admit their error and make full restitution to the individual Jews and the countries from which they profited. The fact that the Swiss citizens, who knew what was happening, refuse to speak openly of their country's shameful behavior speaks volumes as to their guilt. The NAZI GOLD program will certainly make them remember what they did to the Jewish people. Perhaps the guilty will realize that their sin is not going to be forgotten; the only way to clear themselves is to make a full and honest confession to the rest of the world. I pray that the people of the Unites States will never allow our government to take a "neutral" position like the Swiss did. I am now haunted by the fact that the USA did not bomb the Swiss factories. We must share some of the guilt.

Garden City, Michigan


I found ""Nazi Gold" tendentious, simplistic, manipulative. At its worst, the program was a mirror-image of Goebbels stereotyping, with the Swiss as rats. I make no excuses for the Swiss. Their wartime record was deplorable. But any program on this subject should begin by acknowledging the truths documented in David Wyman's "Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust, 1941-1945" (NY, 1984). Not only did the US close its gates to Jewish refugees, before, during and after the war, as Wyman documents, but immediately after the war we gave sanctuary to Nazi war criminals and competed with the Soviets in recruiting Nazi rocket scientists and intelligence officers. We did this in the name of national security and for political reasons, as did the Swiss. As for the British, their record was every bit as shameful, and in fact they led the way in persuading Harry Truman in 1947 to write off the Swiss banking sins for cold war purposes. It would have your program fairer, stronger, and more morally complex if someone had some of this at some point in the program and if you had not used a sound track to underscore what needed to underscoring.


The documentary was informative in a clear and concise way. I learned a lot. The research seemed solid; the interviews were well juxtaposed between competing interpretations (my polite way of saying, "it was clear who was lying") and the narrative was simple but hauntingly compelling.


I learned so much. I didn't know, for example, that Swiss armament manufacturers supplied the nazi war machine. Why "we" maintained the fiction of a neutral Switzerland is beyond me.

Your documentary's sober tone made the subject matter by contrast -- more horrific.

I can go on and on about how well done it was, but I'm very upset by what I learned and would like to digest it now.

Good luck on all future endeavors.

Harriet Jackson


I lived in Geneva (as a foreigner) in the 60's. We often heard of the alpine bunkers (adapted at this time to shelter the Swiss from nuclear holocaust), and that the Swiss Army was directed to shoot non-Swiss who tried to find refuge there. We would see Arabs in banks with large valises full of American currency and wonder what might be going on. We saw the Swiss accept impoverished guest workers from other countries to perform menial tasks, then deport them a month before the time was ripe when they might send for their families or apply for Swiss citizenship. I have never thought of the Swiss as a peaceful, pure bucolic people.

I thought I knew the shocking details of the fiduciary dealings of the Swiss with the Nazis, and of their purloining the last savings of Jews who trusted them. I had no idea the extent of this. Thank you for your informative and well-crafted program. It is imperative the world be made aware of these awful secrets. Let us hope it brings justice to those directly affected, before it is too late.

Marjorie McDermott
The Piano Factory
Boston, MA


I watched Nazi Gold with mixed emotions. On the one hand, I am horrified and angered that the Swiss banking community was involved at some level in financing the Nazi war machine. Whether it was at the level pronounced in the program, I'm not sure. On the other hand, Switzerland was in a very precarious position and therefore it is hard for me to endorse complete castigation of their actions. Had they announced their allegiance to the Allies, it is possible that Hitler and Mussolini would have overrun the country and then Switzerland could have done nothing to help anybody. By declaring their neutrality they possibly helped save lives, even with their alleged and/or real instances of allowing slave trains to travel through the country or allowing factories to make munitions. I think the Swiss actions during war are over and done with and we need to look toward compensating those, the Jews, whose lives were destroyed or marred by the loss of family members and family money on the part of the Swiss government and the Swiss banks. In fact, this situation is somewhat similar to the Japanese-American internment. America apologized for its actions and compensated the survivors. Why shouldn't Switzerland do the same?

Christa Knebel
Sherman Oaks, CA


Horrible things were done by people on all sides during the war. The Swiss did what they thought they had to do to survive, just as the Israelis do now to the Palestinians in order to survive. Maybe the Swiss banks should give the Jewish money from W.W.II to the Palestinians for the loss of their lands and lives.

Daniel Strandjord
Chicago IL


I watched with great interest your documentary on "Nazi Gold", and found it to be one-sided and sensationalized. As a small example of the sensationalism attached to this very emotional issue, a survivor of a Holocaust victim claims that his parents deposited SFr 18'000 in a Swiss bank which would be worth perhaps "one million dollars today", he claimed. That is simply not so, and to air that is to irresponsibly add fuel to the fire. There was far too little attention given to the real issue of Swiss neutrality and what that meant, and what kinds of threats the Swiss faced from the Nazis. The documentary alluded to the fact that the US did not push this issue during the lifetime of the Cold War because it needed Switzerland and Germany. The end of the Cold War now leaves room to open old wounds.

There was far too much footage on the atrocities that the Nazis committed, blurring the distinctions between Swiss and Nazi, and promoting guilt to the Swiss by association (purely within the context of the documentary). It seems to me that the issue today is to assist the return of funds deposited in Swiss banks prior to the war to their rightful owners. Moral considerations that promote the idea that the Swiss were complicit with the Nazis will only divide people. It is time for forgiveness on the part of all parties involved, and only in this way can old wounds be allowed to heal, and true lessons learned so that people around the world are not senselessly murdered.


It seems that Frontline is losing its objectivity. From the onset of this program, the premise was that Switzerland is guilty as accused. The documentary? then set out to convince the viewers that there is only one story to be told - that Switzerland was a war criminal. Your odd use of music, and juxtaposition of images blatantly exhibited a bias which I used to believe Frontline was above.

David Brown
New York, NY


This was an excellent show. I hope young people had a chance to see it too. It appears that Switzerland has always maintained a pattern of "convenient neutrality" with the blessing of the rest of the world. What is the difference between financing the Nazi regime or keeping moneys for most dictators in the world. In other words, is there that much difference between Hitler killings and those of political dissidents in Zaire/Congo or the Philippines? Yet, Switzerland has carefully guarded their wealth.

Julio Turrens
Mobile, AL


I think the Swiss government & banks should take full responsibility for what they obviously knew what happened during WW II: the slave running, the manufacture of munitions, the using of their "neutrality" to make de facto deals with the Nazis and especially the collusion of deporting Jews to extermination as well as the confiscation of their wealth. I think the history books need a thorough revision in light of all of this profound evidence. Records or not, if they could keep up with who cleaned blood off the floor, then they should have known who had what bank account. To my thinking, they are just as culpable as the Nazis, probably even more insidious than the Nazis - at least they were up front about what their agenda was; the Swiss were just two timing everybody they could for the gold, etc. The world likes to talk about how greedy America has been over the years. Well, according to this latest account, America hasn't got anything on the Swiss!!!

Kevin Wall
Durham, NC


I am thanking you for showing the film "SWISS GOLD" last night. I could not sleep all night. By hearing this morning in BBC news that Mercury was found in Swiss gold coins originated from teeth of Jewish victims of the Holocaust my sadness & anger became even worse.

I am the last living person out of my entire family of about 70 members. Almost all my immediate relatives were sent to Poland to be murdered by the Nazis. Slovak Fascist government paid 500 DM per person to the Germans to murder 71,000 Slovak Jews. Slovaks have never apologized, expressed any remorse or have never even mentioned any compensation. By joining restored Czechoslovakia (the original victim of Nazism) they have silently disappeared from view playing to have been victims just the same as the Swiss did. I am still working having no pension. But all Nazis do enjoying their retirement with their families.

Please let BBC, Mr. Christopher Ogliati and Mr. Bromfman know to continue exposing OTHER former and not repented Nazis to the world. To condemn their immoral actions is the only way to achieve at least some justice and prevent criminal murderers to keep all their loot. Even if the dead cannot be revived at least those who survived and remember them can sleep nights a little better.

Thanks again.
Tibor R. Spitz
Holocaust Survivor


The lawyers, accountants, (if alive) of the post WW2 time era who raided their clients accounts, & bank officials that conspired in the cover up, should be tried as nazi war criminals. Switzerland as a country should be severely sanctioned and made to pay war reparations to the Allies. Switzerland should not be allowed to demand that half of the restored moneys be spent in that country. Post the email address of Swiss officials/government so we can tell them what we think of their reprehensible actions and denials then and now.

M. Jessie
Missoula, Montana


Thank you for exposing and documenting the long-held secret of Swiss culpability in Nazi atrocities during World War II.

I'd read of the Swiss bankers' role in swindling surviving Jews out of their lawful and rightful inheritances. But your program went further and broke new ground by also documenting the willful and deliberate role of the Swiss government in collaborating with the Germans in their prosecution of the war.

Outstanding journalism. Thanks to all.

Marshall Swanson
Columbia, SC


As a military historian with some knowledge of World War II, I find the notion that the Swiss bankers contributed in any significant way to long term Nazi war effort, unsupported.

The Nazi's ran a police state based on force, or the threat of force whenever that was easier to use than existing law. They also occupied or controlled nearly all of Europe for much of the war. From 1940 onwards, the Germans controlled most of France, all of Norway, almost all of Eastern Europe, and the vast economic power of the "expanded" German state (Germany, Austria, most of the Czech republic, most of Poland).

Compared to this assembled economic power, tiny Switzerland's minor economic contribution to the German war effort is almost irrelevant.

Regarding the need to convert gold to hard currency: just what were the Nazi's buying with hard currency? They didn't have any significant trade outside of their occupied territories (with the exception of Sweden). Within the territories under their control, they could (and did) force people and business to accept paper money in exchange for real goods and resources. The fact that this Nazi "money" was not backed by real assets was immaterial. It was backed by the power (and threat) of the German armed forces.

To be sure, there was some minor trade in very rare metals that occurred between Germany and some neutral countries who insisted on hard currency (and sometimes gold) as the medium of exchange. However, to argue that these trades had any significant effect on the war flies in the face of considerable evidence to the contrary. The United States and Great Britain spent a great deal of resources and lost many brave men attempting to "shut down" the Nazi war economy by some very carefully thought-out strategic bombing. Objective analysis after the war showed the strategic bombing campaign was basically a failure. It is hardly likely that a more perfect trade embargo against Germany would have succeeded where direct bombing had failed.

The truth is, Germany could have had all the gold in the world and it would not have substantially altered its military/economic standing. The Germans lost the war for many reasons, not least being the fact that the Allies had vastly superior productive capacity over the Germans, even with most of Europe under Nazi control. Quantitatively, the Allies out produced Germany by two to one or more in every important category: tanks, artillery, planes, and ships. Money, in the form of gold, or notes, was largely unimportant in the "battle" of production.

The Swiss behavior regarding Germany was certainly in violation of international laws of neutrality. Swiss treatment of Jewish refugees was (and is) disgraceful. But did the Swiss help prolong World War II by even one day? I very much doubt it. You certainly failed to prove anything of the kind in your program.

Colin Glassey
San Jose, CA


I would first like to commend you an a wealth put together and information documentary. I have been a scholar of world war two for some time. The information you presented was unknown to me, and I must is extremely disturbing. It is also interesting as most of my family perished in the concentration camps, and as far as I know my parents are the only remaining from their respective families, and it is difficult for them to even discuss what happened during the events of this era. I also know that my Mothers parents were extremely affluent, perhaps even having accounts in Switzerland.

My opinion on the Swiss has changed dramatically during recent times, given the recent revelations regarding the international Red Cross, and their knowledge of what was happening in the concentration camps. Now with the information you presented on the Swiss government and the Bank's part in the Nazi rise, I am disgusted. I do not know how they can hide behind a neutrality excuse, given their role in the laundering of plundered good's, and the spoils of wars, I believe that they should be treated as part of the Nazi regime, and punished accordingly. The excuse that they were protecting there people and nation is unacceptable, while the rest of the world suffered (including Germany) the Swiss continued to prosper. Have they no conscience?

I could go on and on, however, this an extremely emotional issue.

David Bank


Frontline was a program which I had previously found to be insightful, and ultimately enriching, whether or not I happened to agree with the topic matter or the way in which it was presented. Tonight's airing however was different. Information was clearly provided to viewers in a manner, reeking of propaganda. If your goal was to incite a general sense of anger towards a population of people, who I might add, had nothing to personally do with "the War" or the efforts of Nazi Germany, then you may have accomplished your goal. If your true goal was to present information for the public to objectively ingest, then you failed miserably. As journalists, I believe you have an enormous responsibility in presenting information in a fair and honest manner. This was neither fair or honest----It was bashing at its finest. Needless to say, I found this presentation so morally offensive that I shall choose to no longer watch Frontline and further will not support the efforts of the Public Broadcasting System.

Dianna Ligus
Anchorage, Alaska


I've been following news articles re: Nazi Gold but your documentary will still shocking. I hope you will continue to update PBS viewers as more information unfolds. In all fairness, you should include stories of courageous Swiss people who shielded or saved Jews or opposed the bankers' collaboration with the Nazis.

Even though Switzerland was not an occupied country, weren't there organizations who resisted what was going on? The video mentions the trains of Jews and slave laborers going through the country at night. Was there no organized protest? How influential was the Swiss Jewish community at the time? The documentary brings to mind Hannah Arendt's phrase about the "banality of evil." For Swiss nationals to oppose the evils of that time would risk ostracism at the least, and death at the worst. The same mechanisms operated here in our own country during the 1950s witch-hunts. Those who spoke out or resisted totalitarians acting under cover of Congress and the federal government saw their careers destroyed. Two American Jews, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed during the hysteria. People who resisted the government's story they were atom spies and believed in the Rosenbergs' innocence often saw their careers derailed via red-baiting (guilt by association). We in this country have our own cross to bear in accommodating to totalitarians with political power.

Arlene Tyner
Phila., PA


I think that the actions of the Swiss toward the Jews was reprehensible. Having said that, however, their actions and conduct must be viewed in the time and circumstances. Switzerland, a small nation and not militarily powerful, it would seem was walking a tight rope in its relations with Germany. It could not risk antagonizing the Nazis for fear of being attacked and conquered. So it chose appeasement of various kinds. What they did looks vastly different after the passage of 50 years. Would any of us, faced with invasion and war, have chosen substantially different? Didn't the United States in 1939 refuse to allow a ship full of Jewish refugees to dock in this country, an act which consigned its passengers to their deaths? And didn't the United States have less reason to do this than did the Swiss?

As far as the Swiss bankers are concerned, this is total greed. They should realize that their conduct will cause the rest of the world to lose faith in Swiss banks, and faith is what a banking system needs most of all.

Fred Granata
Portland, Oregon


One could not help but be moved and impressed by Nazi Gold, aired yesterday on the Washington DC PBS station. The broadcast mentioned only in passing that while they sent back thousands of Jews, the Swiss did welcome some 27,000 Jewish men, women and children. My parents and I were among them, and I attach a page from my father's recollections. I realize very well that such individual stories do not weigh for much in the balance, and that the Swiss policies and attitudes were very complex and often contradictory. I am also aware of the fact that 1942 was early days, that Swiss policy tightened up later, that Geneva might have been more lenient than German-speaking Switzerland, and that priority was being given to mothers with young children (I was 9 months old at the time). Still, there is no doubt in my mind that the Swiss saved our lives (my father's, Alice's, my mother, and mine). The broadcast might have mentioned this other side of the story.

Guy Pfeffermann
Chief Economist
International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group

My father's account (translated from the German):
Montauban, Vichy France, August of 1942:

"After the massive dragnet had ended and thousands had begun their journey to Auschwitz, it became easier to get a laissez passer for traveling to Annemasse near Geneva; once the wave of mass arrests was over, the authorities felt there was no reason to harass the remaining refugees further. That was very noble. We needed money, and asked Margot, who had married again and was living on the Cote d'Azur. She sent us the money without hesitation as a matter of course; we are thankful to her to this day. We knew of a spot where the border could be crossed -- one had to contact a shepherd, using a password. One night he escorted us across the border. It was pouring. I was carrying Guy in a sack, but he lost his milk bottle and his pacifier, and began to scream. Fortunately French customs officials didn't like to leave their shelters when it was raining hard, and so left us alone. Suddenly we saw headlights coming at us. Thank God it turned out to be a Geneva cab. We showed up at an acquaintance of mine, spent the rest of the night on a couple of armchairs and reported next morning to the authorities who directed us to a family center, a former hotel. Eventually I ended up in a camp near Zurich, in a dis-used factory, while Alice and Guy were interned in a women's camp in Luzern... After a few months I was transferred to Sierre in the Rhone valley, where I helped build roads. * Eventually I was freed, in order to finish my book on the relationship between Renaissance popes and the Turks, and so until the end of the war we lived in a hamlet near Klosters. It was so quiet there that we would all come to the window when a cow strolled by.

* while my father was interned, my mother and I lived with a Swiss family in Arosa under the aegis of a Protestant organization, what we would call an NGO.

Guy Pfeffermann
Chevy Chase, Md.


The narration seemed too definitive for a subject that is still under study by all parties. Yet, it's good to highlight the "see no evil..." approach of many. The on-line Web stories I read from Geneva press indicates an unwillingness to believe many of the Frontline findings.

New Jersey


A very well-balanced presentation which has totally altered my perception of Swiss neutrality for the worst. I find it odd that police records, mentioned in the broadcast, still exist, but banking records do not. Swiss bankers behavior indicates that they remain very well aware that their treatment of these accounts was improper. The growth of German assets clearly indicates complicity on the part of the keepers of those assets. Swiss neutrality seems to have been appeasement.

Jessica Forman
Washington, dc.


As a Jew, and particularly as one who both lost many family members to the Nazis and several of whose cousins found safe haven in Switzerland during the war, I keenly anticipated your program.

Regrettably, I found it intensely disappointing in that it failed to take advantage of the opportunity posed to fully develop the theses posited by the producers. Specifically, I was dismayed that the producers opted for a format of soft-core images of beautifully pastoral Swiss vistas and voice-over in lieu of hard facts and statistical data.

The Holocaust deniers and their co-conspirators, those espousing views typified by even the "good' Swiss, such as Herr Borer, find refuge until confronted with undeniable documentary facts. Why could your program not have furnished even a modicum of the hard evidence that's being unearthed daily, even as this debate progresses?

Several useful examples come to mind:

1. You spoke about the Swiss furnishing arms to the Reich. What was produced, in what quantities during each year of the War, where were they deployed, where were the factories located (did you ever hear of maps?) and did you seek the opinions of any military experts regarding estimates of just how many American and British soldiers did in fact die at the hands of Wehrmacht troops deploying these weapons?

Curiously, you omitted any mention of Russian casualties attributable to the same. Is there a reason why?

2. You stated that Switzerland was not the only country that provided financial services to the Nazis. Who were the others? What exactly did they do? (Again, years, amounts, etc. -- in a word, specifics)

3. You allowed an on-camera interview with one Holocaust survivor who opined that his parents' deposit of several hundred dollars would now be worth one million dollars. Was that a responsible bit of journalism? In a similar vein, you went into no credible detail regarding amounts stolen and funneled through Switzerland, nor did you furnish any data about the effect these assets had on the Swiss economy, except to make a meaningless blanket reference that the Swiss got rich by the War.

All in all, not a bit of reportage worth staying up for, or are your sights set so low that you've convinced yourselves this is serious journalism?

David Soshoux
Studio City, CA


Thank you for the superb Frontline documentary "Nazi Gold." As the grandson of a Holocaust victim, I was shocked to learn that a country I had always thought was neutral during the war was in fact deeply involved in perpetuating the Nazi war machine. But I was even more disturbed by the fact that the Swiss refused entry to desperate Jewish refugees and apparently allowed trains carrying Italian Jews to certain death in Germany to transit Swiss territory. What a disgrace! The program was carefully researched and presented in a compelling but sober fashion. Congratulations to all involved for an exemplary effort. This, indeed, is what Public TV is and should be all about.

Peter Kupfer
San Francisco, CA


This broadcast was another of the many uses of the media by the World Jewish Congress and its affiliates to spread the propaganda that all the Gentile nations are responsible for the anti-Semitism during World War II and that all are just as guilty of the deaths of Jews as the Nazis were. This belief is a bunch of crap. Furthermore, for Bronfman to state that the drive behind the quest to find the missing Jewish accounts is for the principle and not the money is almost blasphemous. The fact is that his organization smells money to be extorted from Switzerland with the help of his lackeys in Congress such as D'Amato, who I am sure will now be re-elected. This whole thing smells! It is only a matter of time before "documents" are uncovered showing the U.S. also benefited from these "missing accounts" and that "payments" should be made to the descendants of the dead account holders. Maybe payments have already been quietly made. Finger pointing never brought closure and healing but only brought forth the hypocrisy of the finger pointer. When Israel changes its policy toward the Palestinians and stops murdering and torturing them, then they can point the finger of accusation against the Gentile nations.

Dennis Lamberti
Oakland, Ca.


I enjoyed your program very much. I think that the Swiss banks should reimburse those accounts. I don't think that they will be able to be paid in full. Some type of agreement must be made. Switzerland looked to be an old country. I am all for preserving historical places what have you. So hopefully the whole world can learn from others mistakes. There is a lot of history there even though they are in the wrong. What would anybody do in a situation like Switzerland's was in during the war. They were trying to save their people and their country. Which they did. If the United states would of known about this during the war, Switzerland may not be here now. The technology was not there to surgically remove military installations. We had to do mass bombing to achieve our target goal. If no death certificates can be produced than there has to be other ways to withdraw moneys owed to the Jews. No one can go into any bank and withdraw moneys without the proper Identification on.

I think that some kind of fund could be established to pay them all back. Sort of like social security benefits to all the Jews or their next of kin. So that maybe these people can live the rest of their life will a little more piece.

Columbus Ohio


Just watched Frontline tonight. As a retired soldier who spent 37 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, I must admit to being appalled at what I saw. I don't mean the death and destruction, dreadful as it was, I mean the fact that the Swiss were able to profit from the deaths of others and did little or nothing to help refugees. It makes me sick.

The Swiss have obviously become very wealthy on the blood and tears of others. Your program zeroes in on the Jewish people who deposited funds in Swiss bank accounts and who were robbed of their wealth. However, I am sure that there are others who also lost their wealth to the seemingly greedy Swiss. What is being done to help these people? The Swiss must surely be made to atone for their actions to all people from all of the countries they have violated. The fact that they manufactured arms which were used by the Germans against the very people from whom the money to pay for the arms was taken, deserves atonement in itself. If they don't, they will never be trusted again. I firmly believe that the bank official who stated to your interviewer that, by law, the Swiss banks could not keep, or did not have, records of past transactions, was lying.

Steven Davidson
Victoria. B.C. Canada


A bitterly sad reminder of the gossamer thin veil of civilization spread over modern society. The mindless and heartless pursuit of money, at any and all cost, as reflected in the Swiss treatment of Jewish bank accounts and unrelenting complicity with Nazi Germany, is just the latest example of an ageless truism. Personally, I was disgusted by the actions of the Swiss, I was offended by the sanctimonious denials offered by the blonde/teutonic government toady and I will have to consider most seriously whether I ever return to Switzerland as a money spending tourist. My hat is off to Mr. Bronfman!! His courage and dedication, in the face is official indifference, is wonderful. We are all guilty here - let's not forget that. The US turned too many blind eyes too many times in our short and ignoble history to be able to criticize other countries. We must all learn from this disgusting lesson:
the love of money (not money per se) is truly the root of much evil, much cruelty,! much indifference and much degradation of the soul. Thanks for a great program.

Robert Gilmer
Los Angeles, CA.


This was a terrible revelation. I'm Jewish and many of my relatives died in W.W.II. A few survived.

It was shocking to realize that the country which I thought so highly of was directly and indirectly responsible for my relatives death and misery.

The Swiss deliberately chose the path of least resistance, highest profit, and supported incalculable human misery. For this they should be ashamed, even after fifty years has past.

I was fascinated that so few of the Swiss were willing, or able, to put a human face on the tragedy they helped to foster. It would have been so easy to have given people their money, after the war. And held the moral high ground.

But they retreated from that moral high ground and simply stole incalculable moneys from their dead and their relatives.

I'd wager that ALL other accounts from that era can be accounted for. If Adolf Eichmann had an account, I'll bet that it could be traced if his heirs wanted to withdraw the money. Only Jewish accounts have "disappeared."

What hypocrisy!! For shame.


I found your program about Switzerland's financial dealing with Germany unbelievable. The Swiss were repulsive and repugnant in their deals with the Nazi's. It seems that greed took over the Swiss banks and the Swiss government during the world war II period. If anything we should force the Swiss to account for all moneys and gold looted from the Jewish people during that period and to repay it all, and I don't believe there should be a need for half the money to be spent in Switzerland.

The Swiss has lost any respect that I once had for them. After seeing your program, you have ended any future thoughts I might have had about visiting Switzerland, and I hope many other Americans will do the same. Maybe a American boycott of Switzerland and Swiss products might be go a long way in getting them to take action after their fifty years of hiding the truth.

Richard Brame
Dana Point, Ca.


I just watched the program regarding the Swiss bankers stealing the Jewish money and believe they're common thieves. The entire Swiss population must take some of the blame and return the moneys by the mandate. I have visited that country many times ,however, will never have anything to do with that nation or it's products, bank, or the red cross again.


As a regular watcher, I have never before had occasion to write you, but the June 17th show presented such bias that it cannot go unchallenged. This is pies-poor journalism. Frontline has clearly taken an anti-Swiss position. Frontline's bias shows up in several ways: First, the anti-Swill view is given much more time and was accompanied by melodramatic music in the background. Second, its not a fair fight to pit 2 media-savvy partisans (Bronfman and Singer) against an academic scholar. Third, there is a lack of historic comparison; how much trouble would I have looking up my grandfathers banking records at an American bank? Is it possible, hard, or easy? Finally, there was a lot if irrelevant but provocative video like the 2 shots of the giant siege mortar. Conspicuously absent was any discussion of what neutrality meant under international law circa 1939. Without such a discussion, one is left with a colloquial understanding of the term, which is simply irrelevant here. Starting out this section of the show with a consensus explanation of what it meant to be neutral in the pre-war era could have been a springboard for a discussion of whether the Swiss met these expectations.

Jim Smith
Park Ridge, IL.


I am an American. My Grandparents were immigrants from Czechoslovakia before World War II. I was brought up with the horrible information about the Holocaust. I thought I was always better informed about the Holocaust than my non-ethnic fellow Americans.

I find it appalling to learn of the terrible things that Switzerland had done to aid and abet the Nazi regime. I feel that the United States should bring its power and influence to bear to aid the Holocaust survivors to reclaim the full value of their savings stolen by Swiss bankers.

Switzerland should be denounced by the United States and the United Nations.

Benedict S. Ollo, Jr.
Plainfield, IN


Color me cynical, but such a liberal tolerance of these so-called neutral entities reeks of complicity at high bureaucratic levels within the allied ranks. Is it plausible that the allies had such superior intelligence resources, but knew little of the collaboration of neutral nations completely undermining their efforts to isolate Germany?



My grandfather died over 10 years ago but did tell me of his life in Germany during Nazi rule. There were some things he was very proud of, others he faked being proud of and some he kept secret. When he died he took with him many secrets, but he did tell me of one incident.

You see he was an Engineer, driving the big steam trains that did the transporting of materials to the front line troops. During the Winter of 1943/44, after he had numerous trains blown out from below him on the Russian Front, he was transferred to duty transport into Italy.

He told me of one incident where he was taking a human train load back to Germany through Switzerland. In Switzerland he attempted to abandon the wagons at the station. He was "detained" by the Swiss, put back on his train, and their Engineer drove he train to the border with Germany. They released him at the border to drive the train on. He did this three children and a wife at home. He requested and was reassigned to the Russian Front.

He told me that if the moral Swiss would do this knowing the outcome, then no one can condemn the Germans, for having voted Hitler into power not knowing what the outcome would be. Starving, beaten people who seek help from a silver tongued devil are innocent when compared to moral zealots that protect themselves for love of money.

Denver, CO


Your piece on Swiss money laundering for the Nazi's had quite an impact. I think that the Swiss were despicable coward's who, even now, cannot or will not realize the enormously far reaching effects of the war time policies they chose to adopt. The horror that became reality for so many could have been prevented had it not been for Swiss greed and spineless -ness. Let us know from time to time what is happening with the situation. I would think that in this modern world economy that there could easily be enough pressure generated to force the Swiss to compensate their "victims" for, not only actual financial losses, but also the enormous potential that they destroyed.

Lisa Masterson
St. Louis, MO

I've read about this bit of history in the newspaper, but seeing on the air made an even stronger impact on me. Bastards, let them look at their myths and let their population investigate this atrocity! I was intrigued by one interview I caught the end of--about the trains going through Switzerland. What was that point--the Jews, prisoners, yes--was this to prove they were not neutral after all? I was sickened by the fact the Nazis were supplied with the actual weapons from the Swiss.

Let them pay--because it is the ultimate treachary!

Linda Jassim
Santa Monica, CA

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