How the Swiss Protected Hitler’s Gold

How the Swiss Protected Hitler’s Gold

Switzerland: we know it for its watches, skiing,
and incredible chocolate, but even more so for the Swiss banking industry, unique in
all the world for its secrecy and neutrality. But, as we’ll see in this video, neutrality
and secrecy do have a dark side, for during World War 2, Germany used the Swiss banks
to further their war effort and since the war ended, we’ve uncovered the reality of
just how greedy the biggest Swiss banking institutions actually were. This video is brought to you by CuriosityStream. Watch thousands of award-winning documentaries
by signing up with the link in the description. While the Swiss never had the expansionist
ambitions of the other great nations of Europe, like France, the UK and Germany, they did
have a very keen sense for economic power, which is why they steadily developed a banking
secrecy act that protected the anonymity of people using their banks. In their geopolitical situation this made
a lot of sense, since the Swiss also practiced a policy of armed neutrality to protect themselves
and their banks. This means avoiding military alliances and
never entering the conflicts of other nations. It is a testament to their persistence that
Switzerland holds the oldest neutrality policy in the world, with the last war they participated
in being the one that saw the defeat of Napoleon. So, when World War 2 saw the Swiss surrounded
by Axis and Allied countries, they took very serious steps to avoid being pulled in, at
one time mobilizing almost a million soldiers to defend themselves from being invaded. The Swiss prevented both American, British,
and German planes from flying through their airspace or traversing their country and anybody
not following these rules found themselves in Swiss internment camps. At the time, the Swiss were praised for their
neutral position in the war, but they also received a lot of bad press about their neutral
stances in banking and business. They were willing to continue accepting gold
and to do business with all countries, including Nazi Germany. Now, after the reparations for World War 1,
Germany was struggling to pay its debts; that is, until, Adolf Hitler rose to power in 1933
and promptly canceled the repayments. Hitler’s plan was to start organized looting,
both of the private individuals and the countries that he invaded, a task that he handed over
to a special force designed for that purpose. Supposedly, the group was to collect art and
valuables in order to preserve them, intending to return whatever was taken to the owners
after the war was over. And yet the immense value of the stolen goods
proved way too tempting, and so the plunder was funneled off to help the war effort. It’s estimated that over $550 million worth
of gold was plundered from the banking reserves of countries like Belgium, the Netherlands
and Austria, all in an effort to fund the war. This number is hard to finalize because besides
gold reserves, there was also looting of silver, collectibles, and fine art. Now, just having valuable art is of no use
if you can’t actually buy anything with it, so In order to actually use this gold,
Hitler had to get creative. He began sending shipments to the neutral
powers that still did business with Nazi Germany, the largest of which was Switzerland. In 1940, Hitler became even more aggressive,
changing his strategy from looting banks to legalizing the outright appropriation of the
property of the Jewish people, especially their gold. Now, keep in mind that none of these actions
were hidden: the world was pretty aware of the harsh treatment of the Jews. And yet, despite the blatant way Nazi Germany
acted, Switzerland, in an effort to remain neutral, continued buying the looted Nazi
Gold. The Swiss stubbornly resisted any claim they
were acting favourably towards the Nazis, but the reality was very different. Swiss companies like Nestle ignored the atrocities
and continued operating as if everything was business-as-usual. Of course, there was plenty of actual Nazi
sympathy going on in Switzerland at the time. The two Swiss companies that would eventually
form the pharmaceutical titan Novartis completely replaced their Jewish board members with an
Aryan German board when Hitler rose to power in 1933. The official border policy of Switzerland
during this time was to actively turn away any Jews from the border that were fleeing
the Nazi regime. In 1938, the Swiss Chief of Police even requested
that all Jewish German passports be marked with a “J”, so they could easily deny
entry to the Jewish people, all the while hoarding their stolen gold. Now to be fair, most Swiss citizens at the
time had no idea of these connections to the Nazis, but the businessman, bankers, and politicians
could claim no ignorance. Luckily for them, the world was too busy battling
with Hitler’s forces to take any action against Switzerland, but after the war ended
in 1945, the global attention turned towards those renowned private vaults in the Swiss
Alps. Allied forces, acting on behalf of the hundreds
of thousands of Jewish victims, demanded the Swiss banks turn over the gold they had been
storing away. The banks resisted at first, of course, but
an international agreement forced them to hand over $60 million to the victims and their
families a year after the war was won. In 1962, a law was made that forced banks
to identify the dormant accounts they had and to reclaim that money. That law, however, only saw a further $15
million recovered and paid back. In 1996, the World Jewish Council formed a
special committee to uncover the true scope of the actions of Swiss Banks and after 2
years of investigation, the findings were staggering. The Nazis had smuggled at least 100 tons of
gold through Switzerland, but only 4 tons had ever been recovered and paid back. The WJC sued the banks and won a lawsuit that
saw several Swiss banks and companies contribute to settlement of over $1.25 billion to disperse
to the victims of the Holocaust around the world, who numbered at just under half a million
at the time. Several banks like Credit Suisse and UBS,
as well as Nestle, and other smaller companies participated in that settlement. UBS also made a donation of $40 million to
the International Red Cross as a token compensation for the unclaimed accounts. Of course, there are many who still aren’t
happy with the way the Swiss banks handled the after-war repayments. The banks; they claim, haven’t reclaimed
the accounts and deposit boxes belonging to the families who were entirely wiped out. Unfortunately, there is no acceptable figure
of how much unrecovered Nazi gold still lingers in the vaults today, stolen from families
that no longer exist. Neutrality, as Switzerland learned, has its
price and yet at the end of the day it seems to have been a small one. To this day, Swiss banks safeguard over 25%
of the world’s cross-border assets and currently hold $6.5 trillion in assets. Now, if you’re curious about the final days
of the Nazi regime or the bombing campaigns that made that possible, you’ll probably
enjoy watching these two awesome documentaries on CuriosityStream. If you don’t know, CuriosityStream is the
largest online streaming platform for award-winning documentaries and you can watch all of them
for just $2.99 a month. CuriosityStream is a great way to broaden
your horizons and you can try it for free right now if you sign up for a 30-day free
trial by following the link in the description and using the code ‘businesscasual’. In any case, I’d like to thank you for watching
this video. I hope you enjoyed it and if you did, make
sure to subscribe to catch my new videos every other Friday. We’re gonna hear each other again in two
weeks and until then: stay smart.


  1. incredibly hard for me to watch because i wonder now, does my family have lost possessions in swiss banks? how much of our history is just sitting in a dusty box because sweden can’t get off its high horse

  2. Hitler did many questionable things but to say his plan was to start organised looting is not only wrong but stupid.

    Every nation has taken treasures from occupied nations. To name just one Britain stole and has kept to this very day the Koh I Noor. The most valuable diamond ever found stolen from India.

  3. The funny thing is that although the riches from the looting where taken from multiple countries, peoples, and ethnicities; the chosen ones claim that ALL should be given to them.

  4. Obviously I think it's very wrong what the Swiss did. But if the only way to not b invaded was to b their banker, I would of too……. So would u

  5. My beloved country money is stolen and kept in Switzerland, please Swiss deport Africa people money just like the way you deport Africa people.

  6. Shouldn’t these banking systems with their secrecy acts be legally forced by the international community to nulify these laws in order to aid transparency in money transactions and to prevent money laundering and tax evasion.
    What these documentaries are exposing is the immense amount of financial hypocrisy and fraudulent banking practices that exist. Moreso in the era of international trade. How can you build a stable world without a stable world economy that isn’t financially accountable? This is part of the reason that the world is in constant turmoil. They should also look into the south african gold trade and switserland during the apartheid era. Not fresh at all. These banking system enable a whole lot of nefarious activity…
    Why the world bank and imf keeps so utterly quiet is astounding while the world is screaming for financial and banking reform. But i guess we are fitting the bill of the rich through our taxes

  7. But to add some highly needed context (because this have barely any) All countries returned Jews to Germany – USA, Poland, Denmark etc.. Sweden accepted Jews from Denmark – only when Germany were loosing WW2. As far I understand (might be biased – since I was told by a Swiss guy) USA have much more WW2 Jew money – but since US have more liberal rules for closing idle account – it’s much harder to find a company/person and account for that money.

  8. Good video but the statement at 4:42 about Heinrich Rothmund is untrue and has been falsely attributed to him. The J stamp was proposed by the German authorities, not the other way around.

  9. Common now… Nazi arent the only shady people swiss banks did business with. If big time drug dealer, human trafficker, corrupt politician, thief or just hiding ur money from ur country's tax collectors. Suiss banks were the place for you.

  10. I would say this really was a case of greed. After WW2, swiss neutrality had been succeeded, I dont see why making an agreement to give back the goods Nazi would be against the idea of swiss neutrality since it is amoral after all.

  11. How much gold did the Swiss protect for the British, who were also colonialists responsible for the enslavement of many nations. Nazis were evil, but it didn't end there.


  13. I think switzerland was doing what was best for them
    If we think they were bad for doing business with nazi
    They should also be considered bad for doing business with british empire and america
    They too where bad
    How america treated it's black and how britain treated indians
    So I think swiss did the right thing

  14. Finally i got my answer as to why Switzerland never got involved in conflicts. Its because all the billionaires stuff are stored there!!

  15. The Swiss were smart for making Switzerland a neutral country with banking secrecy. This allow the Switzerland to avoided to participate in WW1 and WW2. I think the Swiss were wrong for accepting stolen Europeans and Jewish Europeans money and gold from the Nazi. To be devil advocate I will say that the Swiss didn't have a choice, they had to accepted stolen money from the Nazi and Western powers (UK, USA) in order to survived as a neutral country in central Europe during the World Wars because both sides would have protected their secret bankers. The Nazi wereone of the greatest thieves in history.

  16. Switzerland is generally considered as a civilised and innocent country. But in reality, they are protecting illegal money of criminals, crooked politicians and corporations from all around the world.

  17. Swiss is the most corrupted country. Bcz they hold all corrupted money from all over the world in their bank. Swiss must give back all this illegal wealth to the concern country.bad people in disguise gentlemen code.

  18. Make a video about all the American companies that funded Hitler throughout the war like standard oil and general electric. Wasnt edgar bronfmans daughter involved in child sex trafficking? All these powerful American Jews love little boy hole

  19. In a view of there side if we dont deal with Hitler he will just take are country and at the end of the war there will be a loser and we keep that gold

  20. New Idea's : How peugeot made the first car and why. Facinating.
    Heineken: One of the largest breweries how won the nobel price with his beer in the year that the efel tower was build.
    BlackRock: one of the most inspiring financial firms in the world. With sick story's and influence.
    Enron: with the fraud and stuff.
    Watson: Rich history, nice story. – a large company with a lot of retail formulas. A player that runs the game very well.
    Luxottica: This is a sick story that starts in milan, and ended as the biggest glassic supplyer in the world. owning 89% of the market in specif channels.

    If you need more input let me know.

  21. seems like the new owners deleted their new videos, they're trying to keep as much of the subscribers as possible and fool us with a next video which was probably shot before they took over

  22. Business is business tho. You must look out for your own country, can't be picking sides risking ending up on the losing side.

  23. Please make a youtube video about the rise and fall of South African tech giant, Mxit. Would love to know the story

  24. Can you guys do a informtionall video that tells some intressting information about Scania? (Scania is a European truck Company that was made originally by Sweden, but recently baught by MAN (a nother european truck Company) and volkswagen)

  25. Not surprised about Nestle…. Now, they are just stealing communities water supply and selling it back. Just watch the documentary "Tapped"

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