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The Story Behind the Nazi Gold
Nazi Gold: Hard currency looted from treasuries of countries occupied by the Axis powers during World War II. Ingots consisting of gold melted down from the teeth of murder victims and weddings bands and jewelry. About two thirds of an estimated $660 million ($7.8 billion in today's dollars) in stolen Nazi gold passed through Switzerland during the war. And like any sharp businessmen with hot goods, the Swiss disposed of much of their gold quickly - through Portugal mainly, but also to Sweden, Spain, and other central banks (Hirsh 48). Probably no more that $140 million remains unaccounted for, and a good portion of that was probably sold onward as well. But what remains of the known Nazi hoard (none of which has been returned to the Jewish community) is worth no more than about $65 million according to the Brussels-based Tripartite Gold Commission, set up after World War II to return stolen gold to national treasuries. Recently the Clinton administration created a commission to search for any Nazi funds that might have ended up in U.S. Federal Reserve vaults. "We have to be willing not only to focus the spotlight on Switzerland," says Under Secretary of Commerce Stuart Eizenstat. "We have to be willing to follow the trail of assets into our own treasury" (qtd. in Hirsh 47).
This trail though, suggests that there is no huge stash of Nazi gold in Switzerland. The loot has scattered worldwide through numerous transactions and...