Nazi Millionaires: The Allied Search for Hidden SS Goldby Kenneth D. Alford, Theodore P. Savas
During the final days of World War II, German SS officers crammed trains, cars, and trucks full of gold, currency, and jewels, and headed for the mountains of Austria. Fearful of arrest and determined to keep the stolen loot out of Allied hands, they concealed their treasures and fled. Most of these men were eventually apprehended, but many managed to evade capture. The intensive postwar Allied investigation that followed recovered only a sliver of this mountain of gold. What happened to the rest of it, and what fate befell these men?
Authors Alford and Savas answer these questions and many more in this fast-paced and well-written new book. Their groundbreaking study is based upon thousands of pages of previously unpublished and recently declassified documents. The result is a fresh and absolutely original reading experience that offers insights into the minds and methods of these SS thieves, the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) within which they labored, how they achieved their positions of near-absolute power, the complex Allied investigation into their activities, and what happened to the vast sums of wealth they looted from Europe's Jews.
Nazi Millionaires deftly captures the high drama surrounding these men and women and the secrets they carried with them during the closing days of World War II - and in some cases, to the grave. It is a remarkable tale of greed, lust, fraud, deceit, treachery, and murder. And it is one you will long remember.
About the Authors: Kenneth D. Alford, of Richmond, Virginia, is the author of Great Treasure Stories of World War II and The Spoils of World War II. Theodore P. Savas has written or edited a dozen books, including Silent Hunters: German U-Boat Commanders of World War II. He lives in El Dorado Hills, California.
- Casemate Publishers
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Meet the Author
Kenneth D. Alford, of Richmond, Virginia, is the author of Great Treasure Stories of World War II and The Spoils of World War II. Theodore P. Savas has written or edited a dozen books, including Silent Hunters: German U-Boat Commanders of World War II. He lives in El Dorado Hills, California.
Theodore P. Savas graduated from The University of Iowa College of Law in 1986 (With Distinction). He practiced law in Silicon Valley for twelve years and co-founded Savas Woodbury Publishers (subsequently Savas Publishing) in 1990. The company was sold to an East coast publisher in 2001. He has been teaching legal, history, and business college classes since 1992.He is the author or editor of fourteen books (published in five languages) including A Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution (with J. David Dameron, Spellmount and SBLLC, 2006), Hunt and Kill: U-505 and the U-Boat War in the Atlantic (Spellmount, SBLLC, 2004), Silent Hunters: German U-boat Commanders of World War II (Campbell, 1997; Naval Institute Press, 2003) and Nazi Millionaires: The Allied Search for Hidden SS Gold (Casemate, 2002), as well as a score of articles in a variety of journals and magazines. He also wrote an opinion-editorial column for a northern California newspaper
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This is a very enjoyable book. I have been reading about the Second World War for many years, but have never heard of half of this information, or the characters involved. I especially like the introduction to each character, with good background information, etc. The information about the counterfeiting operation and the SS man Hirschfeld was spectacular--as is the new information about the Swede Count Bernadotte. I always suspected he was killed after the war for a reason, and now we seem to know why. Highly recommended.
I read this book in galley at the printer and had to comment on it. I love WWII-related material, and this one I could not put down. It begins with a general overview of the Nazi regime, etc. to set the stage for explaining how the SS and German death machine managed to plunder Europe so effectively. Nothing new here, but a required foundation for what follows. Each chapter essentially builds on the previous, introducing new characters and schemes, many of which intertwine and link up as the book goes along. Many of these men are very well known--Adolf Eichmann or Ernst Kaltenbrunner, for example, but most are men I had never heard of--Josef Spacil, Kurt Becker, Walter Hirschfeld, Franz Six, etc. Each of these men had something to do with stealing and hiding at the end of the war vast treasures, including gold, jewels, currency, and antiques. The book is based upon previously unpublished classified documents, including interviews, reports, and so on. What they reveal is amazing. For example, I had no idea Eichmann (who was later caught and hung in Israel)carried with his caravan tens of millions in gold and abandoned it somewhere in north central Austria (eyewitness accounts confirm it), or that Kaltenbrunner had many large sacks of gold that vanished in the same region. The most fascinating couple of chapters concerned the misnamed 'Operation Bernhard,' a massive counterfeiting operation run by Spacil. Within it was another operation so top secret it was operated without Hitler's knowledge! Perhaps the bombshell of the book is that Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte, the Red Cross hero who saved Jews, was a Nazi collaborator! His assassination in Jerusalem a couple years after the war was, apparently, retaliation for what the Jews knew about his relationship with Walter Schellenburg, one of Himmler's top men. Read it and see for yourself. The authors also introduce the Allied hunt for these treasures, what they found, and how so much was never located. The amount of wealth that slowly came to the surface in Austria is staggering. It is obvious that a lot of these men, especially Kurt Becher, hid away millions and managed to get back a lot of it after the war. Thankfully the book introduces each character at the beginning with a sentence or two, a necessary addition because there are a lot of people to keep track of. At the end is a postscript that spells out their fate. It makes fascinating reading. I wish the book had a few more maps, but the photos are good, and the story would make a great movie. Finally, a book about WWII that does not tell me for the 100th time that there was a D-Day or that Rommel fought a campaign in Africa.
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