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United States: State Department To Investigate Nazi Gold

Washington, 7 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The United States will conduct its own "thorough and immediate study" of what happened to millions of dollars worth of gold seized by the Allies from the Nazis at the end of World War II, says the U.S. State Department.

Spokesman Nicholas Burns said last week that the State Department's chief historian, William Slany, will head the investigation, which Burns said might take months to complete. It will concentrate on U.S. diplomatic efforts to find the gold the Nazis deposited in banks in neutral Switzerland and at other sites. It will also examine how the United States helped return the gold to its rightful owners or their survivors.

The issue of whether the gold recovered from the Nazis was distributed fairly after the war has become a controversial one in Europe. Many Jewish organizations contend that survivors of the Holocaust were not fairly reimbursed.

U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-New York) recently asked the State Department to conduct a study about what the U.S. government of the time knew about the gold distribution and what, if anything, the United States did about it.