Hitler's Secret Bankers: The Myth of Swiss Neutrality During the Holocaust

Hitler's Secret Bankers: The Myth of Swiss Neutrality During the Holocaust

by Adam LeBor
     
 

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Hitler's Secret Bankers was the first book to disclose the extensive collaboration among Swiss banks, the Swiss government, and the Third Reich before and during World War II. Switzerland, supposedly neutral in the war, seemed a safe haven to desperate Jews who entrusted their wealth to its banks, believing that even if they died their families would inherit it. For… See more details below

Overview

Hitler's Secret Bankers was the first book to disclose the extensive collaboration among Swiss banks, the Swiss government, and the Third Reich before and during World War II. Switzerland, supposedly neutral in the war, seemed a safe haven to desperate Jews who entrusted their wealth to its banks, believing that even if they died their families would inherit it. For more than fifty years, this money has provided free working capital for the banks. In addition to the dispute over dormant accounts, Swiss banks provided the Nazi war machine with foreign currency, which paid for vital war materiel such as chrome and aluminum.

Based on hundreds of newly declassified documents and archival research, this landmark work is filled with startling information and revelations.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
While the issue of Holocaust survivors trying to recover their assets held by Swiss banks is LeBor's focus, his extensively researched story examines a range of issues regarding Switzerland's conduct during WWIIand his depiction is largely condemning. Among the charges LeBor (Budapest-based correspondent for The Times of London) makes is that Swiss banks helped fund the Nazi war effort by accepting gold and other assets and laundering the money into currencies that Germany could use to buy matrial. Swiss banks also accepted looted property that was being held for top Nazi officials. LeBor also alleges that Switzerland cost the lives of at least 30,000 Jews by closing its borders to fleeing Jewish refugees for much of the war. To make matters worse, until recently, Swiss bank officials refused to help Holocaust survivors and the families of its victims claim their assets, insisting, among other things, on death certificates for people who perished in the concentration camps. LeBor also explores the intrigue that took place in Switzerland as spies from the Allies and Axis powers alike used the country as a central place to glean information about their enemies, and where, toward the end of the war, German leaders looked to arrange a separate peace with the West. There are also several anecdotes that seem like ready-made subjects for novels such as the Red House meeting in 1944 at which top Nazi officials plotted how to launch a Fourth Reich after losing the war, or the story of Hermann Goering's brother, Albert, who used his money and influence to save the lives of numerous Jews. LeBor's highly charged work will appeal to readers interested in WWII, and will be embraced by Holocaust survivors and their families who are trying to seek restitution from Switzerland's banks. (June)
Library Journal - Library Journal
LeBor, the central European correspondent for the London Times, has added another book to the growing list about the conduct of Swiss bankers in connection with the Holocaust. Based in Budapest, LeBor usually writes about Hungarian affairs, and it shows here. His opening chapters describe German atrocities in Hungary during World War II, which is compelling reading but doesn't have much to do with the grotesque behavior of the Swiss bankers during and after the war. LeBor's subsequent account of the United States's wartime involvement with the Swiss and the Germans through the Bank for International Settlements makes for fascinating reading and could point to the next Holocaust banking scandal. Nevertheless, libraries will be better off with Tom Bower's Nazi Gold (LJ 5/15/97), which makes better use of primary sources and tells a more coherent story.Randall L. Schroeder, Wartburg Coll. Lib., Waverly, Ia.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781559724210
Publisher:
Carol Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/28/1997
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.31(w) x 9.37(h) x 1.14(d)

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