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Europe: Trade With Germany Prolonged The War, U.S. Report Says

By K. P. Foley

Washington, 7 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - A U.S. report says neutral countries, notably Switzerland, enabled Nazi Germany to prolong the Second World War by pursuing a vigorous trade with Germany.

The report was sharply critical of the Swiss government, concluding that what was called its business as usual attitude toward commerce with Nazi Germany was inexplicable.

The report was prepared by eleven U.S. government agencies under the direction of Commerce Undersecretary Stuart Eizenstat. The focus of the 200-page study was an examination of Switzerland's wartime role in handling gold stolen by the Nazis from occupied countries and what U.S. officials knew and did about Switzerland's dealings in the looted gold.

The Germans mixed gold taken from banks with gold, jewelry, coins and melted down dental fillings of concentration camp victims and remelted it into bars traded abroad, the report said. However, it added there was no evidence that neutral countries such as Switzerland knew that some gold had been taken from concentration camp victims.

In an introduction to the report, Eizenstat also criticized the U.S. government for not insisting that Switzerland make reparations after the war.

(See RFE/RL three-part series Switzerland And Nazi Germany )