Chapter 4-1: Raid in the Alps
Part 1: bankrupts of little banks in the 1930s -- anti-Semitism in Switzerland has partly a deterring effect to Jews to depose their fortunes there -- transfer of Jewish fortune from Switzerland to "America" in 1939 and 1940 - and accounts without account owners -- aryanizations in Germany - and "commissioners" (aryanizers) of SS with Swiss banks -- Swiss managers discussing if they should obey or not - Swiss banks "transferring" everything -- aryanizations in Austria 1938-1939 - and in Switzerland accounts are robbed
Translation by Michael Palomino (2013)
from: Peter Balzli: Treuhänder des Reichs. Eine Spurensuche. Werd-Verlag, Zürich 1997
* Names with a * are changed by the author protecting the personality (p.15)
<Raid in the Alps
[German] Nazis [partly] fetching back the fortunes of their victims. Methods in details and willing bankers make it possible.
[Bankrupt little banks in the 1930s]
[Jewish slogan not leaving funds in Switzerland - little banks in Switzerland often suffer a bankruptcy - example Specker & Cie. - Wever & Co.]
"Jews have not to be taught how money business is going on. They had been really stupid having left their fortunes in Switzerland", this is the meaning of a Jewish businessman from Zurich.
Already in early times different Jews had to make a bitter experience that their safed funds in Switzerland were not safe whereas having suffered dangerous flights and smuggling routes and overcoming massive resistance by official offices. Because during the 1930s above all the little banks in Switzerland were at a big risk to go broke. Bigger banks had no problems with investments when there were some losses, but little banks with risky investments could loose all their customer's money or never recovered from old losses of the big crisis of 1929. In this way there was for example the bank Carl Specker & Cie. with it's headquarter in Rheineck [at the Swiss Austrian border] and with a branch in Zurich which was going broke in May 1934 already. Specker had specialized above all in German customers and was managing capital flight actions.
"The value of December 1933 was 222,960.65 Swiss Francs approximately. These values have been blocked by the customs investigation office in Berlin because they (...) had been given to letter box companies with the project of not allowed currency businesses. The (...) criminal procedures - despite the leader of the company Specker & Co., Mr. Carl Specker sen., has died on September 17, 1934 already - have been continued against some codefendants. If these procedures have been terminated could not be communicated until today; our letter to attorney-generalship in Berlin remained without answer and a personal inspection of documents was resigned (...)", this wrote the bankruptcy office of the Lower Rhine Valley (Unterrheintal) in the location of St. Margrethen at the end of May 1935 to the Federal Justice and Police Department of Switzerland (Eidgenössisches Justiz- und Polizeidepartement). It's very probable that the bankruptcy of Specker's company also Jewish fortunes were destroyed. There were 44 [p.77] creditors with a German domicile with requirements of a total of 609,722.05 Swiss Francs indicated in the bankruptcy. "Partly these requirements are German hot money and therefore the responsibility for the fortune was given to lawyers from Zurich and then the lawyers were giving in their requirements as personal requirements", this was stated by the bankruptcy officials.
A similar case was occurring one year later in Basel. Bank Wever & Co. with mostly German clients had to communicate bankruptcy at the local court in the middle of 1935. Saving action was not bringing much. The definite finish for Wever was coming soon, and then Fides Trustee was taking over the administration of the bankrupt's estate. But it was not a normal finish with this case. There was a complain by one of the customers, probably a Jewish customer, and then the authorities of Basel were initiating a lawsuit against the former members of the management board Mr. Ernst Wever and Mr. Ernst Büchelin. The charges were betrayal and reckless bankruptcy. During the investigations there was also an interrogation with Mr. Walter Treuherz in January 1939. Mr. Wever had engaged this Jewish banker from Berlin in 1933 as a representative in Paris. The task of Mr. Treuherz was making propaganda provoking hot money to Switzerland. On the base of his network of contacts the clients were mostly Jewish. "My confidence to Wever & Co. was very big which can be seen by the fact that before my emigration I was recommending to many of my best friends installing accounts there, and I was shifting to Wever & Co. even the last rest of the fortune of my old parents there, further more funds belonging to my wife. These fortunes have been lost without leaving anything and I did not have very big problems in my personal life after the bad conditions were affecting Wever, but I was fighting with big new difficulties here in the emigration because my whole existence had it's base with Wever", Mr. Treuherz indicated to the investigative judge. From the bankrupt's estate of nominally two million Swiss Francs Fides Trustee could get at the end a modest revenue of 300,000 Swiss Francs.
[Here the fault was clear: The fortune was deposed only in one bank, but a fortune has to be parted and stored in different places and in different forms].
[Anti-Semitism in Switzerland having partly a deterring effect to Jews deposing their fortunes in Switzerland]
Reservations concerning stability of certain Swiss banks were not the only factor of danger for Jewish fortunes, but during the 1930s a deep political mistrust was coming up. At the latest in 1939 many lost their confidence in the neutral [p.78] idyll of the resistant state in the Alps. This attitude had good reasons. "Anti-Semitism is enforced by Frontist [Swiss Nazi] groups in the 1930s. Frontist Swiss Nazi movement has it's base with already existing anti-Semitic and xenophobic tendencies in the population. But open anti-Semitism is not dominating in Switzerland. But anti-Semitism becomes socially acceptable up to the elite of Switzerland", this writes historian Markus Heiniger in his book "13 Reasons: Why Switzerland was not occupied during WWII" (orig. in German: "Dreizehn Gründe, warum die Schweiz im Zweiten Weltkrieg nicht erobert wurde").
[Anti-Semitism had been provoked by Zionist organizations declaring war against Germany in 1933 already and collaborating with the NS regime driving Jews to Palestine].
[Transfer of Jewish fortunes from Switzerland to the "U.S.A." 1939 and 1940 - and accounts without account holders]
[Transfer to "U.S.A." was possible yet when the Jewish account holder was free yet. But many Jews had been deported already or suffered in concentration camps and could not do anything about their fortunes any more. These accounts were robbed by bankers and lawyers or by other representatives after 1945].
[German occupation of territory in 1939 / 1940 - Jewish account holders shifting assets and papers to the "U.S.A." or to Argentina]
Mistrust was also rising by the fact that just behind the frontier the Third Reich was preparing a giant campaign [German occupation of remaining CSSR, Poland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, France, Denmark, and Norway]. With this the probability was always higher that the tanks of the German Wehrmacht would also roll in Station Street of Zurich. [German armament had been supported by the "U.S.A." systematically, but Switzerland never was attacked because it was the spy center for all powers]. The idea was coming up that in such a case [with German tanks in Zurich] the foreign hot money would fall into the hands of Hitler's assists. The fortunes having safed under risky conditions had to be safed another time now. Affected account owners were advising their banks to shift the fortunes and deposits corresponding to the main stream to the "U.S.A." Most of Swiss banks were playing safe electing an "American" bank as a receiver. Others were trusting to the integrity of Helvetic bankers and were shifting the fortunes to a branch in New York.
In this manner Swiss Bank Corporation (Schweizerischer Bankverein) was shifting several hundred accounts of potential Nazi victims. The proof is giving a list with Jewish and partly Jewish sounding names which was elaborated by a banker's committee of the "U.S." senate in 1996. The base of this list were documents from the 1940s since June 14, 1941 when the "American" authorities had taken the resolution of freezing and of investigating the European fortunes. Names like Abraham, Rothschild, Isaacsohn or Rosenkranz did not leave much doubt of the religious confession of the account owner.
On the request of the customers Swiss Bank Corporation (Bankverein) and other institutes were evacuating the fortunes not only to "U.S.A.". There were other destinations like England and Canada, and above all Argentina was a goal. As Swiss banks had no own branches in South "America" improvisation was needed: [Swiss ambassador in Buenos Aires reports]:
Original in German:
"Im Verlauf eines Diners, das ich gestern [S.79] dem argentinischen Aussenminister orientiert habe, hat mir Herr Cantilo mitgeteilt, das der Banco de la Nación von der Société de Banque Suisse [Bankverein] angefragt worden sei, ob die Bank sich damit einverstanden erklären könnte, wenn ihr von schweizerischen Banken Wertschriften in versiegeltem Umschlag, lautend auf den Namen der schweizer Bank, zur Aufbewahrung zugestellt würden, mit der Abrede, dass im Kriegsfalle der Umschlag geöffnet und jedem der in der Sendung bezeichneten einzelnen Titelbesitzer alsdann automatisch ein Konto eröffnet würde. Zu diesem Behufe würde die Sammelsendung eine Anzahl von Separatpaketen enthalten, von denen jedes einzelne mit dem Namen des Eigentümers der Wertschriften bezeichnet und die betreffenden Wertschriften umfassen würde. Diese Titel wären im Kriegsfalle für Rechnung der einzelnen Titelbesitzer in Depot zu nehmen", meldete Jenny, der schweizer Gesandte in Buenos Aires, in einem vertraulichen Brief am 4. August 1939 nach Bern. Die Argentinien willigten in die Pläne des Bankvereins ein.
"During the dinner of yesterday [p.79] with the Argentinian Minister of Foreign Affairs I could communicate to Mr. Cantilo that the National Bank of Argentina [Banco de la Nación] was requested by Union Bank of Switzerland [UBS] if the bank would agree when Swiss banks could send sealed letters with commercial papers which had been edited by Swiss banks, for storing. There should be the regulation that in the case of war the envelope should be opened and an account should be opened to everybody of the partial owners of commercial papers. Thus this envelope could be a collective letter with a certain number of separate packages, with the names of the owners and with the commercial papers. These papers should be converted into cash with accounts in the case of war", Mr. Jenny, Swiss ambassador in Buenos Aires was stating in a confident letter on August 4, 1939, to Berne. Argentina was approving the projects of the Swiss Bank Corporation.
[Jewish accounts without account holders since 1939 / 1940]
In 1939 and 1940 not all accounts of Nazi victims with hot money could be shifted. Many account holders had died already or harsh living conditions were hindering them to advise Swiss banks. Persecuted people could not travel any more since years already, and telephone and mail in Germany, Austria or in occupied territories were spied systematically. And many were in prison, were in concentration camps, or had emigrated already and had destroyed their bank account documents for not being taken to prison by NS officials.
Thus a part of this hot money remained involuntarily in Switzerland. These were fatal circumstances, because to the contrary to the promises of the bankers the long arm of the Nazi apparatus was coming regularly to Switzerland fetching back hot money and other fortunes from Switzerland [and Swiss banks were violating any neutrality with it]. These secret renationalizations [just in the sense of Nazi government member Von Steiger of SVP] did not begin only with the outbreak of the war, but much earlier already].
[Aryanizations in Germany - and "commissioners" ("men in black") of SS in Swiss banks]
[Political pressure and limitations of Jewish companies 1933-1938]
During a first phase aryanizations of Jewish companies were an important political mean. There were prohibitions of professions for lawyers, medical doctors and for other professional groups affecting many Jews because a high percentage of them had own businesses and companies. Thus in 1933 were 46 per cent of German Jews with an independent salary, and there were more than 100,000 Jewish companies.
Aryanizations in Germany were performed in two waves. The first wave was from 1933 to 1938 when Jews [p.80] were confronted with massive pressure to sell their companies "voluntarily" to German "Aryans". For this procedure any mean was right.
"For making good businesses one needed more and more statal orders for armament production and for other important supply goods. Economy which was always less a free economy but was always more a steered and a command economy [with the great support of certain bankers and of strategic companies like Opel from the "U.S.A."]. In this command economy Jews were more and more discriminated in many kinds but it could hardly be seen at a first glance. The tolerance for harassments was rising, and it was used in many different ways. The complete tendency was suppressing the Jews", writes Berlin professor for contemporary history, Mr. Ludolf Herbst, in his investigation about National Socialist Germany from 1933 to 1945. And there was no escape from this doom loop.
[All these discriminations were coordinated by the NS regime with criminal Zionist organizations driving the Jews to Palestine. This was a common maneuver of both].
The order books of Jewish companies were shrinking. Additionally there was the fact that the Germans were not allowed to purchase in Jewish shops [but clandestinely they did, but the traded good was not rising for sure]. Therefore the prices were falling for a "voluntary" selling day by day, and the capitulation of the owners was only a question of time. Many were emigrating then [resp. the emigration was organized by the Zionist Palestine office to Palestine, and the Ha'avara Agreement permitted to take a part of the fortune and of the goods to Palestine, or there was more emigration to other oversea countries like Australia or "U.S.A.", for example organized by German Hilfsverein of German Jews]. But others did not emigrate [when they simply did not get a visa for example waiting in Marseille for "America"]. Only companies working in big Jewish communities like Berlin could live on for a certain time without difficulties.
[Forced aryanizations after Crystal Night of November 9, 1938]
Then after November 9, 1938 the end of Jewry in Germany was a done deal. The second wave began now and all last remnants of negotiating range was definitely limited. With so called forced aryanizations the affected had nothing to say any more. [Jews were forced to leave their houses for living in certain districts as a preparation for deportation]. Germans were not only driving Jews out of their economy [and from universities, Einstein etc.]. During the development and extension of the Third Reich also the occupied or "added" territories were affected by rigorous aryanization waves. The first victims were the Jews in Austria  and in Czechoslovakia .
[Officially aryanizations could be justified that Germany was boycotted since April 1933 by "U.S.A." respectively was "in a war" provoked by Jewish Zionist lobby in new York. And this economical boycott had great negative effect on Germany].
[Swiss managers discussing if they should obey or not - Swiss banks "transferring" everything]
[Occupation of Sudetenland in 1938 - Berlin wants to have the provisions of Jewish partners]
During these economic purge Switzerland was always a part of the game. Countless Jewish companies had accounts in Switzerland, partially officially, or they had provision assets because they were leading the branches of Swiss companies abroad. Trustees or commissarial administrators being engaged in the aryanizations by the state were successively fetching Swiss fortunes. Partly this was a real raid with the presence of the affected Jews. They had to come to Switzerland together with the commissarial administrator and then they had to withdraw their assets there. In other cases the affected had [p.81] fled abroad with good reason as can be shown with the example of Mr. Lecoultre.
This Swiss company was in the French part of Switzerland in the location of Avenches producing and exporting accessories for textile production in the whole world. Since the end of the First World War it was collaborating with the self-employed representative Mr. Karl Lederer in Tetschen at Elbe River in CSSR. Mr. Lederer was a Jew and therefore he had nothing to await from any eastward expansion of the Third Reich. A short time after the occupation by German Wehrmacht of Sudetenland on October 1, 1938, he was fleeing to Prague. The occupants were not loosing much time. Already on October 25, , there was arriving a clear order on the table of Mr. G. Lecoultre by savings bank director Mr. Rudolf Jäger:
Original in German:
"Als von der hiesigen Zollfahndungsstelle genehmigter Treuhänder für das Vermögen des im Auslande befindlichen Karl Lederer, Tetschen a/.E. [an der Elbe] habe ich aktenmässig feststellen können, dass der Genannte Ihre geschätzte Firma vertreten und demnach Provision zu erhalten hat. Ich bitte mir die Höhe des Provisionsguthabens bekanntzugeben und zur Kenntnis zu nehmen, dass rechtswirksame Zahlungen nur nach Tetschen a/. Elbe zu leisten sind."
"I am authorized by the custom investigation office to be the trustee of the foreign fortune of Mr. Karl Lederer, Tetschen on Elbe River. I could state by documents that the mentioned person was the representative of your honored company and got provisions for this work. I request to communicate the amount of the provision assets and to accept that legal payments can be transferred to Tetschen on Elbe River only."
Mr. Lecoultre was embarrassed. Mr. Lederer's provisions should be payed to Germany? [Now Mr. Lecoultre was doing several things]: Mr. Lecoultre was informing the trustee with a faked information that Mr. Lederer had already left for "U.S.A." and had cashed almost all bills. At the same time he was asking advice at the authorities in Berne. The remaining provisions were only an amount of 150 Swiss Francs, but M. Lecoultre wanted to play it safe. In Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs [Eidgenössisches Politisches Departament] nobody had the courage to give a definitive statement. Whereas it was known that it was the fortune of a persecuted person, Mr. Lecoultre got the simple answer that he should elect himself the solution which would correspond mostly to his own interests. If the French Swiss had payed finally is not known. But his hesitation is showing that there was at least a part of Swiss companies not obeying without resistance to the orders of the Germans. Mostly there was a great base of confidence within the personal relationship with Jewish representatives or partner company.
["Nazi loyal" management board of Swiss companies abroad - preventive dismissal of Jews from Swiss companies abroad]
Additionally Helvetic companies were split into two groups generally corresponding to the adaption of Nazi rules. There can be shown an example of Austria where at the end of 1938 the "State's Commissioner of Private Economy" was requiring for foreign stock companies the additional election [p.82] of a Nazi loyal member of the administration board [thus a spy in every company]. Many affected Swiss companies in Austria were protesting against this regulation. Some companies were rejecting accepting imposed persons as members of the management board. But not all were protesting [see here the letter of Mr. Pierre Bonna from Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs to the Swiss member of Swiss Council of States (Ständerat) Mr. Iwan Dally from April 14, 1939]:
Original in German:
"Wir sind im Begriffe, uns über die Auswirkungen, die das Begehren des Staatskommissars auf die schweizerischen Interessen in Österreich haben könnte, zu unterrichten. In einer uns von der Gesandtschaft übermittelten Abschrift einer Vernehmlassung des Staatskommissars in der Privatwirtschaft an das Generalkonsulat in Wien wird bemerkt:
'Im Übrigen darf ich darauf hinweisen, dass bei einer der zum überwiegenden Teil im Eigentum schweizerischer Bürger befindlichen Aktiengesellschaft, der Bally Wiener Schuh Aktiengesellschaft, bereits über meinen Vorschlag ein Herr kooptiert wurde, und dass dies von Seiten des Präsidenten, Herrn Iwan Bally, lebhaft begrüsst worden ist.'
Da Ihre Firma anscheinend bereits praktische Erfahrungen mit der Kooptierung einer vom Staatskommissar bezeichneten Person in den Verwaltungsrat von Tochtergesellschaften sammeln konnte, wären wir Ihnen sehr verbunden, wenn Sie uns Ihre Meinung darüber bekanntgeben wollten",
"Were are going on to evaluate the effects of the requirement of the State's Commissioner referring to Swiss interests in Austria. In a written copy made by our embassy of a regulatory text of the State's Commissioner of Private Economy to the Main Consulate of Vienna there is the following remark:
'Additionally I may indicate that with the stock company Bally Vienna Shoes - which is mostly in the hands of Swiss citizens - I got already an answer to my proposal coopting a person, and the president, Mr. Iwan Bally, was welcoming vividly my proposal.'
As your company seems to have practical experience already coopting a person who is appointed by the State's Commissioner for the management board of affiliated companies we would be very pleased when you would also communicate your meaning' ",
was writing Mr. Pierre Bonna, the leader of the department for foreign affairs in the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (Eidgenössisches Politisches Departament] on April 14, 1939 to the member of Swiss Council of States (Ständerat) Mr. Iwan Dally.
Two weeks later Mr. Ivan Bally was sending a letter to Mr. Bonna and Mr. Bally could hardly conceal his vivid welcome of the German ordinance.
"We would like to know about the person who was appointed for our management board and we got a very satisfying answer. Then during my next visit in Vienna I was connecting with him directly inviting him for a meal for getting to know each other better, and the following day I was inviting him to our production plant. This contact was giving us the mutual impression that we would understand very well each other", Mr. Bally wrote.
"As a summary I state here that I consider it right that the foreigner being the owner or being the leader of a company in the Reich will adapt to the system. According to our experience until now he has not to give up his Swiss mentality."
Several Swiss companies were performing this adaption also with commissarial administrators. For example they were not only handing out the provision assets of their Jewish representatives, but they were kicking the Jewish representatives out of the company as a prevention thus the branch in the Reich was not put under any commissarial administration [p.83].
[Swiss banks handing out Jewish business assets to Nazi Germany after aryanizations - by simple bank transfer!]
Comparing Swiss trading and industrial companies the Swiss banks were adapting with their trustees who had almost all power. Under certain circumstances the assets of Jewish companies were transferred to the Nazis without any delay, and many times also the personal fortune was within this transfer. Above all in the case of Austria there was a standard procedure which was approved by Swiss Banker's Association.
[Aryanizations in Austria 1938-1939 - and in Switzerland the accounts are "robbed"]
["Commissioners" (aryanizators) from Austria - Swiss banks obeying also to the most perverse German Nazi rules - "Nazis were robbing Jewish accounts at Swiss institutes without limits" - self-appointed "commissioners"]
[President La Roche writing on May 31, 1938]: "At April 14 of this year  a new law was approved for Austria which is part of the Reich now concerning the composition and responsibility of commissarian administrators. Zurich Credit's Institutes Association (Verband Zürcherischer Kreditinstitute) gave the order to a special commission for juridical questions to investigate the question how Swiss banks should handle orders of commissioners concerning Austrian companies. The Credit's Institutes Association was so friendly communicating us the result of their discussions", Mr. President Robert La Roche was writing on May 31, 1938. Mr. La Roche was convinced together with the rest of the management board that all Swiss banks should have the same behavior to the commissioners. He was prompting a newsletter (circular) of the Zurich Credit's Institutes Association to all members of the Banker's Association.
The consequence by these suggestions of the Zurich association was roughly said absolutely following the NS states. The special commission was not coming to a clear result about the juridical involvement of the commissarian orders in Switzerland meaning that this question "could be ruled by a judge when it comes to it". But at the end they were "under most possible consideration of the rights of the authorized people" [in the management board] the position was mainly to protect the company and the management board itself thus there would not be any obligation for "repeated fines or damages". The checklist for the banks being member in the Institutes Association was basing only on the principle investigating if the commissioner was really in an empowered position being authorized. It did not play any role that these persons were mostly aryanizators being appointed by the state.
The banks recognized the laws, also the most perverse German Nazi rules. The suggestions of the Swiss side were also showing that they could not imagine or did not want to imagine that the [p.84] signature of a Jewish businessman was not given voluntarily any more. [The guidelines of Zurich Credit's Institutes Association]:
"1. Bei Einzelfirmen, Kollektiv- und Kommanditgesellschaften sollen Verfügungen des Kommissars nur ausgeführt werden, wenn der Firmainhaber bezw. ein zur Führung der Einzelunterschrift berechtigter unbeschränkt haftender Gesellschaften die schriftliche Zustimmung zur Verfügung des Kommissars erklärt.
2. Bei juristischen Personen, Aktiengesellschaften, Genossenschaften, Gesellschaften mit beschränkter Haftung soll die Kompetenz des Kommissars zur Verfügung durch einen Auszug aus dem Handelsregister nachgewiesen sein.
3. In Fällen eines Konfliktes zwischen dem Firmainhaber (Einzelfirma, Kollektiv- und Kommandit-Gesellschaft) bezw. der bisherigen Verfügungsberechtigten oder Organe einer juristischen Person einerseits und dem für das betreffende Geschäft eingesetzten Kommissar kann der Schuldner gerichtliche Hinterlegung verlangen bezw. vornehmen."
"Point 1: With one-man businesses, with collective or joint-stock companies the ordinance of the commissioner should be executed only when the owner of the company respectively an authorized representative with the right to sign is declaring the written consent for the ordinance of the commissioner.
Point 2: When there are juridical persons, stock companies, cooperatives, companies with limited liability the competence of the commissioner should be proved by documents with an entry in the trade register excerpt.
Point 3: In the case of conflicts between the company owner (one-man business, collective or joint-stock companies) respectively with the authorized people until this time or with organs of a juridical person at one side and with the commissioner of the company on the other side the recipient can require or act with a juridical deposit."
Bankers had no difficulty fulfilling these Nazi rules but they simply extorted a signature and could provide a trade register excerpt. When there were "conflicts" the bankers were mostly shutting their eyes not considering anything. In this way the Nazis could come to the Swiss banks and could rob Jewish bank accounts without limits there: "Nazis were robbing Jewish accounts at Swiss institutes without limits". And this method was going on for a long time without any change.
[All this robbery was the revenge against the Zionist war declaration from 1933 against Germany boycotting Germany which was going on without limits].
The so called guideline of the banks following the law was even followed when it was really obvious that in Austria also self-appointed commissioners were operating making much cash into their own pockets. The NS Minister of Interior in Austria, Mr. SS General Arthur Seyss Inquart, appointed by Hitler, was fighting this uncontrolled situation on July 2, 1938, with a special ordinance. He was publishing that a commissarial administrator could only be appointed by "state's commissioner in the private economy, party member and graduate engineer Walther Rafelsberger".
"Any other authorization of another office is not valid. People violating the ordinance continuing the activity as a commissarian administrator in the private economy will be punished according the existing rule", these was the order of the Minister of Interior.
This order of the SS General provoked the conclusion in the Zurich Credit Institute's Association "that there had been some uncertainties appointing the commissioners thus persons without authorization for being a [p.85] commissioner were appearing". But the basic raid robbing bank accounts was not put into question [because Swiss companies received Jewish companies in the Third Reich as presents!]. The Swiss side was only interested for internal buy-in of the confiscations.
[Secretary of the Credit's Association wrote a circular]: "Under these circumstances a big caution and restraint to the orders or ordinances of the commissarial administrators in the private economy is suggested. Legitimations should only be recognized when there is a certainty that they are appointed by the graduate engineer Mr. Walther Rafelsberger, and they should be present having their post in the state's administration yet not having been dismissed yet",
these are the words of the secretary of the Credit's Association in a circular of July 14, 1938 which was spread by Swiss Banker's Association again. Thus there was only a warning but nothing else. The banksters were at least following indirectly all orders of an NSDAP commissioner and main aryanizator [in branches of Swiss companies - and also on neutral Swiss ground...]
[The case of the German Jewish banker Mr. Thorsch in Switzerland - Zurich courts protecting his fortune from the aryanization "commissioner"]
Only Swiss courts could stop the big raid of the commissarian administrators as the example of the banker Mr. Alfons Thorsch is showing. After the invasion of the German Wehrmacht in Austria the men from Vienna could save himself to Switzerland founding a domicile in Zurich. A short time later his company in Vienna was under commissarian administration. Mr. Thorsch knew clearly that the new bosses in Vienna would want to rob the foreign assets of his bank. And in fact the corresponding Swiss banks were receiving the daily orders or the commissioner. But Mr. Thorsch had put in his veto already thus the Swiss banks could not transfer the assets to the Nazis in a simple way. The conflict between the company owner and the commissioner could not be concealed any more. The assets of Mr. Thorsch were blocked in Switzerland and a court had to make a decision.
The local court as also the cantonal high court of the canton of Zurich were rejecting the complaint of the commissioner who wanted to have the funds. With this decision at least Swiss justice had proved in March 1939 at least that they will not accept the racist claims for currency and assets, whereas there was an agreement between Germany and Switzerland from 1929 regulating the mutual enforcement of court decisions. But this resistance was only a poor consolation because hardly any of them were in the happy situation of Mr. Thorsch stopping the raid of the Nazis. Thus there only remained the hope that the banks would implement the clear court's decision [p.86] abrogating their interpretation of the law. But the banks were not changing so fast. The outbreak of the Second World War [in Europe] was needed until the adopted bankers came to the conclusion that the transactions to Hitler's willing assists was not at all a legal action. On November 27, 1939, thus eight months after the clear court's decision of the high court of the canton of Zurich Swiss Banker's Association was writing a new circular with the following indications for it's members:
Original in German:
"Wie uns mitgeteilt wurde, sind in letzter Zeit von ausländischen Stellen oder Personen verschiedentlich Weisungen und Begehren an schweizerische Banken ergangen, die sich auf Massnahmen ausländischer, kriegsführender Staaten stützen wie insbesondere die Sequestrierung des Eigentums feindlicher Staatsangehöriger. Wir bitten Sie, diesen Weisungen und Begehren vorderhand keine Folge zu geben, weil die Berechtigung zu diesen Anforderungen nach schweizerischem Recht zuerst abgeklärt werden muss."
"As we were informed there were some requirements by foreign offices or persons to Swiss banks on the base of foreign warmonger states, above all concerning the confiscation of property of hostile citizens. Therefore we are pleading you not to follow such ordinance and requirement because the authorization concerning such requirements has to be investigated first according to Swiss law."
But the accounts having been robbed already from Austrian and Czechoslovakian Jews were not mentioned at all. Obviously not perverse racial laws were leading to a reason blocking the transfers, but the official war situation was the decisive factor. But until the definite block of transfer was ordered almost another 6 months had to pass.
[Reality was much worse yet: After the breakout of the war the Jewish companies being given to Swiss managers were in danger of being bombed, and thus the regardless "collaboration" with the Third Reich was not attractive enough any more breaking always the law. An open and regardless collaboration with the Reich brought the danger of bombs on Switzerland...].
During this time the banks were making a massive pressure at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs [with Minister Pilet-Golaz]. The banks were requiring special laws. Normally the banks were against many rules, but this time the goal was clear. By the fear loosing the comprehensive relations and fortunes in the Third Reich they were trying for having an alibi for payment stops. The state's administration should play the blocker now so the banks could present themselves as helpless victims of their own government. This plan was failing because the Bernese collaborating diplomats [Minister Pilet-Golaz had urged for an adaption of Switzerland] were just having the same thoughts. They did not want to provoke the Germans at any price with a new law. Thus the wide interpretation of resolutions was the only way. With the collaboration of the Department of Foreign Affairs and with the Federal Police Department the Swiss Banker's Association was spreading definite codes of conduct. The member's banks were advised
Original in German:
"dass Weisungen ausländischer Instanzen, welche ihre Kompetenzen aus ausserordentlichen Kriegsmassnahmen schöpfen, gemäss Bundesbeschluss vom [S.87] 21. Juni 1935 über den Schutz der Eidgenossenschaft nicht Folge geleistet werden darf (...). Die schweizerischen Banken werden demzufolge Auskunftsbegehren und Verfügungen solcher Instanzen, worunter auch sog. Sequester, Treuhänder, Zwangsverwalter, kommissarische Verwalter etc. fallen, nicht erfüllen."
"that ordinances of foreign instances having their competences by extraordinary war regulations - according to the Swiss federal resolution of [p.87] June 21, 1935, about the protection of Switzerland - must not be obeyed (...). Therefore Swiss banks will not obey to requests of information and will not obey ordinances of such instances - concerning sequestrations, trustees, sequestrators, commissarial administrators etc."
The generous interpretation of the so called spying law of 1935 was braking the raid only partly. But the Nazis could not apply the simple method with an ordinance from a commissary any more.
[Aryanizations in Romania from 1940 to 1944 under dictator Antonescu]
But there were enough other ways using Switzerland plundering Jewish companies as the example of Romania shows us. After the war the clearing house stated the following:
Original in German:
"Von 1940 bis und mit 1944 genehmigte unsere Stelle Zahlungen in freien Devisen im Gesamtbetrag von rund Fr. 30.000.000.-. nachdem Rumänien im Verlaufe des Krieges von der deutschen Armee besetzt worden ist [das stimmt nicht, Diktator Antonescu wandte aber Arisierungsgesetze an], und da ferner während dieser Zeit viele rumänische Exportfirmen in jüdischem Besitz von kommissarischen Leitern übernommen wurden, liegt die Vermutung nahe, dass ein ansehnlicher Teil der schweizerischen Zahlungen in freien Devisen effektiv nicht nach Rumänien geflossen, sondern deutschen Begünstigten in der Schweiz zur Verfügung gestellt worden ist."
"From 1940 to 1944 our clearing house was authorizing a total amount of about 30.000,000.- Swiss Francs after Romania was occupied by the German army during the war [Romania was not occupied, but dictator Antonescu was applying aryanization laws], and as many Romanian Jewish export firms were taken over by commissarian leaders there is the clear suggestion that a big part of the Swiss payments in free currency was not flowing to Romania but was placed at the disposal of German beneficiaries in Switzerland."
The focus of the investigations was an account of the company "Hansa Romana" with 25.000,000.- Swiss Francs at Swiss high street bank Union Bank of Switzerland [UBS]. According to the "Americans" this position contained among others the assets of the former German ambassador and of the Rumanian dictator Ion Antonescu [p.88].