Literature of the Holocaust
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U.S. report details close Swiss-German war ties
From: Cemail@example.com (Reuter / William Scally)
Subject: U.S. report details close Swiss-German war ties
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 1996 19:20:56 PST
WASHINGTON (Reuter) - An official U.S. report written after the second World War and made public Tuesday detailed economic and financial penetration of Switzerland by Nazi Germany that increased during the war years.
The report, newly unearthed in the U.S. National Archives, said gold deposits in Swiss banks doubled between 1939 and 1945, on gold looted by the Nazi regime.
It said Swiss industry was almost totally geared to the German war effort; Swiss banks were used for unfettered financial transactions by German financial interests, and Swiss railroads were ``forced into the service of the German war economy.''
The 1945-46 report by State Department official Nicholas Milroy was released by Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, a New York Republican who has taken the lead in demanding that looted money in Swiss banks deposited by Jewish Holocaust victims be handed over to their families.
Amid pages of dry statistics, the report made these points:
In releasing the report, D'Amato said: ``Switzerland was obviously not the neutral country they would wish the world to believe they were during the second World War.''
- ``Swiss industrial manpower, as well as her production facilities and products, were almost totally geared to the German demand.''
- ``Swiss banks served as a safe haven for all kinds of deposits belonging to German firms and individuals ... It is obvious that the tremendous amount of gold transferred by banks, firms and individuals to Switzerland could only result from looting.''
- Swiss machine factories were frequently paid twice or overpaid by German firms or clients so that new German-owned factories could be established under Swiss names or a credit balance created that could be used to deliver products years later.
The report noted that German influence in Switzerland resulted from geographical and ethnic factors and Switzerland's dependence on Germany for raw materials.
It showed that in 1939 Swiss imports from Germany totalled 440 million Swiss francs, or 23.31 percent of total imports. In 1942, at the height of the war, these imports rose to 660 million francs, or 32.22 percent.
In 1939 Swiss exports to Germany totaled 192 million francs, or 14.76 percent, growing to 656 million francs or 41.72 percent in 1942.
Swiss gold reserves totalled 2.374 billion Swiss francs in 1939. By March 1945 this these had risen to 4.672 billion, due almost entirely to German deposits, the report said.
It said the German government and business used Swiss professional secrecy laws to cloak their business interests around the world by creating a chain of holding companies in various neutral countries.
Although Swiss assets were blocked in the United States and Britain, Swiss banks operated freely in other countries ''allowing the financial transactions between the cloaks of various German interests to take place unhampered,'' the report said.
It added: ``Apart from these transactions aiding the German war economy and German interests in general, the Swiss banks served as a safe-haven for all kinds of deposits belonging to German firms and individuals''.
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