To what extent was the Swiss banking system responsible for empowering the Nazi regime?

1935 Words 8 Pages
A: Plan of Investigation The purpose of this investigation is to analyze the extent of the support of Swiss banks towards the Nazi regime. In the analysis, the role of Swiss banks during World War II as well as the legal action that those banks faced in recent years will be examined. An evaluation of the origin, purpose, value and limitation of two sources used for research will also be provided in this investigation: “How Swiss Bank Accounts Work”- by Lee Ann Orbinger, and “Swiss Banks Settlement: In Re Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation”, an official online version of a settlement issued by Judge Edward R. Korman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
B: Summary of Evidence
Swiss Code of Secrecy
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This law was primarily established as a result of recurring German and French attempts at gaining access to their opposition’s bank statements “for the good of the state”. By establishing and enforcing the Banking Act of 1934, Switzerland was able to maintain their position as a neutral state and prevent interference with private affairs. Another factor that led to the reinforcement of this federal law came during the reign of Hitler and the Nazi regime, when a German law was instated that deemed any German with foreign capital punishable by death.
Gold Rush
During the breakout of World War II, many European Jews saw Swiss banks as a safe haven for their finances. Nonetheless, altercations involving migration, lost documents, and German law during the war prevented many Europeans from recovering their assets. Swiss banks were not only turned to by European Jews, as the Nazi government also looked their way for a place to store looted gold and riches. According to Harvard School of Law graduate Stuart Eizenstat, "between January 1939 and June 30, 1945, Germany transferred gold worth around $400 million ($3.9 billion in today's values) to the Swiss National Bank in Bern." (Orbinger 2007). Seeing that the Nazis had external assets, the Allies created the Paris Agreement of 1946. This agreement allowed the Allies to recover Nazi gold, and regulated the transfer of

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