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Trustees of the Reich

Chapter 4: Raid in the Alps

Part 2: Nazi practice of "privately motivated ordinance" or "authorization" -- "empowerment" -- policy of encircled Switzerland - often with bribed politicians -- block of foreign assets of occupied countries - and evading the block by the clearing center or secret transaction -- a Jewish bank in Amsterdam becoming a Nazi "valorization office"

Translation by Michael Palomino (2013)

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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)

[Nazi practice of "privately motivated ordinance" or "authorization"]

[A German request at Confederate Bank (Eidgenössische Bank) - with a "document" of an "executor of a testament" about a man who has died since 3 years already - and a question form like from Gestapo]

Even during their first years of power the Nazis had developed one more method evading the block of transfer of the Banker's Association considering the commissarial administrators. The Germans tried now to present the official action of an NS authority as a private motivated ordinance in favor of the asset owners. At one side this had the advantage that this procedure was looking like a daily procedure not provoking any suspicion - when the banker was pretending to be naive. At the other side one could evade the spying law as a prevention because it seemed that no foreign authority was working on Swiss territory - as in the case of the officially appearing commissioners.

In this way the staff of customs investigation offices were involved as harmless seaming executors of a testament. There is one case indicating a big trace with German friendly Confederate Bank (Eidgenössische Bank) [p.88], short "Eiba" which was absorbed by Union Bank of Switzerland (SBG / UBS). On November 11, 1938, the directors got a comprehensive question form by a lawyer from Berlin. [The question was about a safe]:

Original in German:

"In der Beilage übersende ich Ihnen das Lichtbild der Urkunde vom 13.5.1935 enthaltend meine Ernennung durch den Herrn Kammergerichtspräsidenten zum Testamentsvollstrecker nach dem am 19. Februar 1935 verstorbenen Direktor Dr. Ing. Martin Rehmer aus Berlin. Derselbe hatte, wie mir seine Tochter Fräulein Betty Rehmer kürzlich mitgeteilt hat, in Ihrer Bank einen Safe gemietet. In meiner Eigenschaft als Testamentsvollstrecker bitte ich Sie um Auskunft:
a) Ist die (...) Nachricht zutreffend?
b) Welche Nummer hat das gemietete Safe?
c) Haben sich nach dem 19. Februar 1935 irgendwelche Personen bei Ihnen, sei es persönlich, sei es schriftlich, gemeldet, die Rechte auf den Inhalt des Safes zu haben angegeben haben?
d) Wer sind diese Personen gewesen? Haben diese Personen die Safeschlüssel im Besitz gehabt? Haben Sie ihnen Zutritt zu den Saferäumen gewährt und ist das Safe geöffnet und sind darin befindliche Gegenstände entnommen worden?

e) Hatte Dr. Ing. Martin Rehmer den Safe unter seinem oder unter einem Decknamen gemietet?
f) Bestand oder besteht ausser dem Safe bei Ihnen oder einer Ihnen bekannten anderen Stelle ein Bankkonto, sei es auf den Namen des Herrn Dr. Rehmer, sei es für ihn unter einem Decknamen?
g) Falls das Konto bestanden hat, wann ist es aufgelöst worden?
h) Falls das Konto noch besteht, welchen Bestand weist es aus?

Ich erlaube mir darauf hinzuweisen, dass Sie lediglich mir gegenüber Auskunft zu erteilen verpflichtet sind. Sollten Sie an meiner Legitimation zweifeln, so bin ich bereit, sie gegenüber dem hiesigen schweizerischen Konsulat nachzuweisen. Abschrift dieses Schreibens habe ich der Reichshauptbank mitgeteilt."


"In the annex I send you the photo of the document of May 13, 1935, showing you my appointment by the President of the local court for being an executor of a testament for Mr. Director Dr. Engineer Martin Rehmer from Berlin who has died on February 19, 1935. The same person was renting a safe - as his daughter Mrs. Betty Rehmer has indicated to me a short time ago. As an executor of a testament I request the following information:
a) Is this (...) news right?
b) Which number had the rented safe?
c) Were there any persons coming to your bank having claimed any rights for the content of this safe after February 19, 1935?
d) Who were these persons? Did these person use a key of the safe they were possessing? Did you grant access to the safe locations and the content of the safe was taken out?

e) Did Dr. Engineer Martin Rehmer rent his safe with a code name?
f) Was there or is there not only a safe but could there be also a bank account at another place with the name of Mr. Dr. Rehmer or under the code name?
g) If there was existing an account, when was it dissolved?
h) If there is existing an account yet, how is the amount on this account?

I should like to point out that you only are obliged to give information to me. If you should have doubts about my legitimation then I am ready to prove it at the local Swiss consulate. A copy of this letter was communicated to the German Main Reichsbank (Reichshauptbank)."

Federal prosecutor's office and Federal Police Department (EPD) were informed and they were presuming fast that this was a maneuver of German tax or currency investigators presenting themselves as an executor of a testament. In the doubtful letter there were some contradictions. First Mr. Rehmer had died already three years ago. Secondly the questions were similar to question forms of Gestapo than being questions of an executor of a testament. And point three was the indication informing Reich Main Bank [p.89] and this was really a clear signal that there was not the will to supply Miss Daughter with the fortune of her father in an unselfisch way.

[Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs thought]: "Anyway the questions (...) in the letter are indicating clearly this view of interpretation as also the indication of this lawyer that a copy of his letter to the Confederate Bank was sent to Reich Main Bank (Reichshauptbank)",

was writing the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs on November 26 for the attention of the federal prosecutor's office. Despite of all doubts the diplomats were interpreting the affair as a private affair between the bank and the lawyer from Berlin. The officials of Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs were not giving any clear suggestion. Eiba could but has not to give any information, officials meant. The bankers were urging for the corresponding legitimation of the lawyer at the Swiss consulate.

[Swiss bank director could decide himself if Jewish fortunes were delivered or not]

This case of Eiba shows clearly how big the tolerance of interpretation was for the affected Swiss offices. Above all the behavior of the bankers was decisive for the successful German maneuvers. At one hand there was the faithful part analyzing the Nazi methods fast and denouncing this at the federal prosecutor's office. At the other hand there were naive and adapted or German loyal treasurers who did not put any questions but were delivering any fortune and information. Thus it was the personality of the authorized director who decided about be or not to be of deposed assets. How individually these questions were managed is proving also the fact that the cadre members of the same bank were taking very different decisions each. When for example a leader of a big branch in Basel was blocking the robberies of the Nazis, his colleague in Zurich was cooperating well.

[An "authorization"]

[An "authorization" as the best "robbery method" - Swiss National Bank taking the resolution "acknowledging authorizations only in exceptional cases"]

This individual character in the banking business of those times was playing a big role during the most preferred robbery method. Mostly the Germans tried to get back the hot money in Switzerland presenting extorted authorizations.

"Secret State's Police [Gestapo] of the Third Reich was torturing wealthy Jews and was thus extorting authorizations for their accounts in Switzerland", this stated former high street bank staff member Mr. Peter K. "The responsibles of the bank were obviously aware what was going on here. In some cases some courageous staff members were threatening the Gestapo agents with police. But mostly [p.90] the bankers were acknowledging the authorizations and were delivering the money or were transferring it to Germany directly. I can remember me to several cases with amounts of 30,000, 70,000, and 80,000 Swiss Francs which were flowing back to Germany in this way."

The statement of Mr. Peter K. that Swiss bankers knew about the procedure is enforced by a passage in a minutes of Swiss National Bank. Already on January 26, 1934, the directorate was uttering the suspicion

"that an authorization made in Germany signed by a detained bank client in favor or a representative of the investigation authorities was provoked by force under special circumstances, that means basically against any free will of the drawer, and thus there is the question if the bank should consider this circumstance."

In those days Swiss National Bank was deciding to acknowledge such authorizations only in exceptional cases. But now was the question what was an exception and this was not prescribed with further words. [May be when there was an order of Nazi Swiss government, or when a share of an aryanized company was promised, or when an aryanized company was given as a gift to a Swiss manager].

[Case: an "authorization" of the bride of a German detained because of a currency offense opening a safe in Switzerland at Zurich Cantonal Bank]

Signatures for authorizations were collected by force and torture from the victims or from their familiar members when the victims were in jail or in concentration camps. Then the authorizations were reaching the Swiss bank by mail sometimes. Mr. Peter K. is remembering also of documents with the indication that German agents were presenting authorizations also personally. For the latter possibility the example of Zurich Cantonal Bank (Zürcher Kantonalbank) is providing evidence. On February 4, 1941 the directorate got a warning from the Federal Police Department (EPD) in Berne:

"We were informed that the German citizen Mr. Dr. med. Bernhard Burkhard with domicile in Munich Pullach District is involved into a currency penal procedure. The indications say that he has rented a safe in your institution with the Nº. 4729. It would not be excluded that there will be a trial to get more information about the content of this mentioned safe."

Mr. Heinrich Moniker, director of Zurich Cantonal Bank, had no difficulty with this procedure. A short time later Mr. Däniker was calling to the officials of the Police Department - and the minute says that a there were really coming two men from Germany with the names Luber and Frauendiener. Both had presented themselves as friends of Mr. Burkhard and had presented "an authorizations signed by Mrs. Dr. Burkhard". "Both men made a confident impression", Mr. Däniker meant at the phone. For the Federal Police Department (EPD) this case was almost done with this. There was the simple answer [p.91] to Däniker that the charge had been filed "in any case". Concerning other conditions the bank could act on their own how the bank was considering the interest of the customer. Police Department was resigning to contact the federal prosecutor's office because the names Luber and Frauendiener were not registered on file. Obviously the naive officials meant that the Germans would charge always the same agents with such missions. Thus it can be assumed that the Zurich National Bank was delivering the content of Burkhard's safe to the alleged "friends".

This manner of acting of 1941 is not provoking any difficulties to the today's responsibles [1997] of the cantonal bank. Whereas they did not want to find any trace of the Burkhard affair a speaker meant generally:

"When somebody is presenting a valid authorization the bank clerk has to act in the corresponding way. The contrary would be illegal. And finally these people did not fix the word "Gestapo" on their forehead."

This behavior of federal authorities in the Burkhard case shows one more time that the Germans were blocked only in the most extreme emergency case giving the banker an advice not only warning him but also giving the clear suggestion to block the procedure. In some cases the fearful diplomats were going so far to remove possible obstacles.

[Case: Baron von Speth-Schülzburg with a secret number account in Switzerland at Confederate Bank (Eidgenössische Bank) - currency offense and four years of penal workhouse - a Swiss lawyer trying a confiscation of the account for the Nazi authorities]

The affair of baron von Speth-Schülzburg was so extremist that NS authorities could leave away a decision of the Federal Justice and Police Department at the end.

German citizen Von Speth-Schülzburg had a number depot at Confederate Bank with 250,000 Swiss Francs, 50,000 Reichsmark, and 23 "U.S." dollars. Towards German National Bank (Reichsbank) he had concealed this foreign fortune. But the responsible authority was catching his trace and was filing a lawsuit against him because of a currency offense. He was condemned to four years of penal workhouse. And for reaching the confiscation of the fortune the Nazis were engaging a Swiss lawyer now with the corresponding authorization.

After some difficulties the German embassy [in Berne] was making considerable pressure and in a letter of March 9, 1941 to the Federal Police Department precise words were used:

Original in German:

"Nachdem der Genannte (von Speth-Schülzburg, d. Verf.) im Laufe der gegen ihn anhängigen Untersuchung [S.92] sich mit der Rückführung der ausländischen Wertpapiere nach Deutschland einverstanden erklärt hatte, wurde der schweizerische Rechtsanwalt Dr. Schweizer in Zürich mit der Auflösung des Wertpapierdepots beauftragt. Obwohl Herr Dr. Schweizer mit einer notariell beglaubigten Vollmacht ausgerüstet war, untersagte das Eidgenössische Justiz- und Polizeidepartement ihm im Hinblick auf das schweizerische Spitzelgesetz die Ausführung des Auftrages, wodurch die Auflösung des Wertpapierdepots wochenlang verzögert wurde. Die Deutsche Gesandtschaft sieht sich genötigt, der schweizerischen Regierung ihre Bedenken gegenüber dem obengeschilderten Verfahren zum Ausdruck zu bringen, durch das ein mit der Wahrnehmung deutscher Interessen beauftragter Anwalt an der rechtmässigen Durchführung seiner Aufgabe behindert worden ist."


"When during the investigation the mentioned person (Mr. von Speth-Schülzburg) [p.92] had agreed to the repatriation of his foreign commercial papers to Germany, the Swiss lawyer Mr. Dr. Schweizer in Zurich was ordered with the elimination of the CP depot. Whereas Mr. Dr. Schweizer was armed with the fully certified authorization the Swiss Federal Justice and Police Department rejected the execution of the order concerning the Swiss spying law, and this provoked a delay of the elimination of the CP depot for weeks. German embassy is feeling compelled to utter concerns to Swiss government concerning the case presented above when a lawyer with the mandate of German interests was hindered to perform the legal procedure and task."

Confederate Bank (Eidgenössische Bank, "Eiba") was rejecting on the delivery of the fortune. There was not only federal prosecutor's office dealing with it, but also Zurich prosecutor's office which was claiming the fact that the order for the elimination of the depots had not been given by the baron in jail bu by the lawyer. In a report to the cantonal juridical directorate from April 20, 1940 the prosecutors were arguing that when there are agents in a case the Swiss side could have the legal suspicion that such action would be in the interest and on the order not so much by the ordering person, by the privately charged person, but would more be in the interest of the German prosecution authorities serving public juridical purposes.

Not important if Jews or other Nazi victims were affected, the delivering of fortune was just a formality for the Swiss side. It was the same case as with the bankers and the commissarian administrator. Also the authorities hardly had the thought that signatures of persons in the hands of the Nazis had signed only under massive pressure and coercion. As long as the facade under private law was kept the Swiss part with their Swiss authorities and bankers was satisfied. About further fates and conditions in the background was not lost any word mostly.

[Swiss bankers and managers were hoping for more gifts by aryanizations - mostly party members of right wing extremist SVP or of center party FDP...]

Withing this affair about the baron the lawyer Mr. Dr. Schweizer could put away all obstacles. Because Eiba Bank was not reacting on a personal letter of the jailed detainee Mr. Von Speth, Zurich authorities were removing all obstacles for the lawyer at the end. Federal Police Department EPD was communicating to the German [p.93] embassy on June 25, 1941 that the robbery had been a successful action:

Original in German:

"Die kantonal-zürcherische Behörde hat diesem (Dr. Schweizer, d.Verf.) daraufhin binnen weniger Tage die Bewilligung zur Entgegennahme der Wertpapiere und zu deren Hinterlegung bei der von seinem Klienten bestimmten Schweizerbank erteilt, worauf Freiherr von Speth die gewünschten Dispositionen treffen konnte. Das Politische Departement benützt gerne auch diesen Anlass, um die Deutsche Gesandtschaft seiner ausgezeichneten Hochachtung zu versichern."


"Cantonal Zurich authority did give him (to the lawyer Mr. Dr. Schweizer) the authorization to receive the commercial papers within some few days depositing them in a Swiss bank which was appointed by his client. Then Mr. Baron von Speth could arrange the wanted dispositions. Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs likes to use this occasion to ensure the German embassy it's excellent esteem."

[Policy of encircled Switzerland - often even with bribed politicians]

[Switzerland is encircled - and diplomacy is obeying correspondingly - and some Swiss politicians and managers are bribed with aryanized gifts and are cultivating "tight contacts" to the Reich]

The reason for this excellent esteem to the Germans was in the cautious and anxious kind of Swiss diplomacy. Switzerland was a little state, and now it was encircled. Thus all were evading all provocations against Greater Germany. Swiss policy was obeying now almost completely, for one reason by existential fears: Importation of goods had to go on also when the Nazis were controlling the importation channels. At the other hand there were several representatives of Switzerland having a mentality for brown ideas [because the Zionists in New York were performing the boycott of Germany by "U.SA." and were damaging Germany without limits. Additionally Swiss politicians and managers were bribed by shares of aryanized companies or had been bribed even with companies as a gift by aryanizations]. And correspondingly there were very tight contacts to influential figures of the NS state.

[Lawyer Mr. Steegmann with a passport of Liechtenstein - evacuation of an arts collection from Germany to Liechtenstein - a lawyer of confidence of the Swiss embassy in Berlin]

Of this group of persons were also some figures working as senders of forced authorizations. German lawyer Mr. Josef Steegmann was one of them. Famous Mr. Steegmann was one of the more important actors of those times. Whereas he is unknown in common historiography this man with a passport of Liechtenstein was managing difficult and highly secret businesses with amounts of millions.

In this way he was working as a lawyer for Swiss high street bank Credit Suisse (CS, in German: Schweizerische Kreditanstalt, SKA), and for the weapon production plant of Oerlikon Bührle. To the end of the war he got the order of famous art collector Mr. Adolf Ratjen saving the arts gallery of the prince of Liechtenstein from the Russians bringing it from Germany to the little country of Liechtenstein. Mr. Ratjen was the owner of the Bank Delbrück Schickler & Co. in Berlin and during the war he was working as an agent between the German Ministry of Economy (Reichswirtschaftsministerium) and the supreme command of the German Wehrmacht (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, OKW). For this arts transfer both [Mr. Steegmann and the collector Mr. Ratjen] got the honorary citizenship of the princedom. Mr. Ratjen was leading the management board of the bank in Liechtenstein then for decades.

"Mr. Steegmann was a highly intelligent man with enormous relations", a near familiar member of Mr. Adolf Ratjen means today [1997]. This was saying [p.94] also the Swiss ambassador in Berlin, Mr. Hans Frölicher, and was engaging this multi-talent as a confidential lawyer of the Swiss embassy. When in 1944 the authorities in Berne could hear always more scandals about this mysterious lawyer, Mr. Frölicher was not hesitating to praise Mr. Steegmann to the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs who was his friend since many years already.

"He is a lawyer of confidence of the embassy and until today Swiss employers are absolutely satisfied with his work. His personal mentality toward Switzerland was always very friendly and was full of comprehension for our institution. Also his marriage with a Swiss woman was enforcing him with his sympathy for Switzerland", Mr. Frölicher was writing to Berne on November 3, 1944. With this commendatory letter the Swiss ambassador wanted to provoke the permission for Mr. Steegmann's entry into Switzerland.

The bad reputation of Mr. Frölicher's friend was completely confirmed several months later. An investigation report of the Federal immigration police for the leader of the Federal Justice and Police Department  and for the Nazi government member Eduard von Steiger on April 25, 1945 was detecting who Mr. Steegmann really was.

[Bemeleit case with a bank account in Geneva: lawyer Steegmann with an authorization of Gestapo from Paris - the bride is blocking the authorization]

According to the investigations "there was an amount of 20,000 Swiss Francs at Swiss Corporation of Banks in Geneva in favor or the German Reich's citizen Mr. Albert Bemeleit, born in 1900. This fortune was blocked. Mr. Bemeleit had his domicile in Monaco. The Swiss Corporation of Banks got the order to transmit this fortune to another bank "Bank for Asset Values" ("Bank für Anlagewerte") in Zurich. On February 10, 1944, Swiss Corporation of Banks was communicating to the clearing office that this transaction would be performed by the order and pressure of the German authorities. In 1944 Mr. Bemeleit was in Paris. Later his wife, Mrs. Bemeleit, was reporting that her husband had been detained in Germany and had been forced to deliver the funds to Germany. On August 8, 1944, Mr. Bemeleit had been shot. Precisely one month later Mr. Steegmann was sending her an authorization of Bemeleit on his [Steegmann's] name and on the name of Mr. Ratjen, without date. By the German authorities Mr. Steegmann was ordered to present himself at the state's administration giving information about the company Bemeleit, and in the letter of September 8, 1944, he was requiring the transaction of the deposed funds of Bemeleit at the "Bank for Asset Values".

Mr. Steegmann had got this authorization without date directly from Gestapo in Paris. And this was not a coincidence. Mr. Arthur Bemeleit possessed with his brother Albert an international empire of companies [p.95] which was strategically important for Germany. "Among others they had a representation of Fiat and they were delivering lorries to the Africa Corps of General field marshal Erwin Rommel", these are the indications of the daughter-in-law of Albert Bemeleit, Mrs. Chungja Bemeleit. But despite of these businesses Mr. Arthur Bemeleit was not admiring Hitler. Just the contrary was the case, he was a sympathizer of French resistance. But his brother was a member of NSDAP and of the SS. Chungja Bemeleit indicates about Arthur Bemeleit: "Gestapo was executing him because he had helped the Résistance. There must have been a spy there denouncing him."

Mr. Steegmann had bad luck this time. Nazis were supporting his career to be one of the management board of the important Bemeleit empire, but he could not fetch the fortunes in Switzerland. The bride of the murdered could block the delivery of the funds by a veto against the authorization. Then the clearing office was blocking the delivery of the fortune.

[Lawyer Steegmann with a "leather case" at the border]

Police of the immigration authorities knew even more about the methods of this lawyer of confidence of Swiss embassy. In their report they were reporting in details how Mr. Steegmann and Mr. Ratjen - a short time before the capitulation of the Third Reich - were saving themselves to Liechtenstein. Thanks of good relations both had provided the personal car of the prince. They were traveling disguised as diplomats and they thought that crossing the border would be without any problem. But the German custom was obviously presuming a flight with hot money and was searching the noble car very profoundly [it can be admitted that spies had denounced them].

[The police report says]: "To the question of the German officials what the leather case contained Mr. Steegmann and Mr. Ratjen had given the answer that only 'cheap things' without importance would be inside. The investigation resulted that these 'cheap things' were jewelries of a value of several million. Swiss customs inspector is indicating that both foreigners had a detailed list about these jewelries. For whom this jewelries were for could not be investigated. The German financier had spoken about an aunt in Zurich, but the investigator of the customs office Mr. Tisis made indications that there would be a Dr. or a Jew in Berne", the report says. In any case the jewelries were surely not designated for the prince. "I have never heard about this story yet. I cannot explain anything of this", a familiar member of Mr. Ratjen says today [1997]. (p.96)

[It's possible that this was a trap: An unknown "servant" has put the leather case into the car giving Steegmann and his arrogance a present for the "capitulation", and then the custom officers were informed by telephone - just a normal trick for foxing people destroying also their careers...].

[Blocking foreign fortunes of occupied countries - and the evasion of the clearing office or secret transactions]

The trick with forced and faked authorizations was working in many cases. For these procedures the orders did not only come from Germany but also from the countries occupied by the German Wehrmacht. The Nazis were controlling the Jews in the occupied countries without leaving out one of them searching them for secret accounts in Switzerland. But the robbed fortunes did not come always back to the Reich because the Germans were confronted with a block by the Swiss federal government and Swiss fortunes of dwellers of the occupied countries could not be delivered. This block was valid for Denmark since April 26, 1940, for Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg and Holland since May 21 [1940]. Two weeks later the blockage of the French fortunes followed. These blocks hat to be evaded, can be by an permission of the clearing office or - and this method was presumably the mostly applied one - by the evasion of the law by a secret transaction of the corresponding bank.

As in the affairs of Mr. Baron von Speth or Mr. Bemeleit the banks were normally ordered to transfer the corresponding funds or commercial papers to accounts of other Swiss banks where the accounts were under a German control. These accounts were not affected by any block. These German depots were working like a provisional melting pot and administrative offices for the confiscated fortunes. Therefore during a first phase the hot money of Nazi victims was in Switzerland yet, but now in a financial institution under the control of the Third Reich. Since the Second World War there were always rumors that this procedure was applied only for exceptions when big Nazis like Göring or Goebbels were ordering transactions on their private special accounts in Switzerland.

The precise procedures of such behavior came to the public only after the war when some survivors of the Nazi terrorism were going on with lawsuits against the Swiss banks. Whereas the topic in such lawsuits was mostly the valorization of robbed objects from abroad by Swiss people in Switzerland, the judges had to evaluate also transactions to German accounts from time to time.

[But such lawsuits were a heavy fight for the surviving Jews because they had to fight mostly against all local courts and were given right only at the highest Swiss Federal Court. And precise lists and numbers and details of the objects were needed - but many Nazi victims had destroyed everything for not being detained when Gestapo would perform a raid finding a list of objects of value. Blind Swiss bankers and lawyers and judges liked to be blind and robbed the big part only AFTER 1945 - protected by the Swiss bank secret...].

[Case: Laura Mayer-Homberg from Belgium making a lawsuit against Switzerland at the Federal Court in Lausanne because of the secret elimination of her account - the lies of the banks in the lawsuit of 1948]

Such a case was on the agenda on September 21, 1948 at the Federal Court of Lausanne. The woman doctor Mrs. Laura Mayer-Homberg from the Belgium town of Eupen was filing a lawsuit claiming that several commercial papers had to be given back which were deposed before the war at the high street bank of Credit Suisse in Zurich. The fortune of Mrs. Mayer was comprehending basically nine bonds [p.97] of Swiss Federal Railway [SBB] for 3 1/2 % each with a value of 1,000 Swiss Francs each, and three bonds of Switzerland itself with an interest of 4% each with a value of 100 Swiss Francs each. For the Germans this deposit had been an easy pray. After the German Wehrmacht had occupied the region of Eupen in May 1940 were coming German laws a short time later. These laws were new currency rules and this was introduced in Belgium from the beginning on with all hardship. Who was not obeying was threatened by heavy sanctions up to death penalty. Under this massive pressure the woman medical doctor was indicating his depot of CS at the responsible branch of German Reichsbank in August [1940]. About two months later Mrs. Laura Mayer was forced to clear her depot at CS. The Nazi bankers were delivering her a standard letter which should be sent together with a personal authorization with her signature to the Swiss CS bank.

On November 15, 1940, the Zurich staff of CS got the following letter:

Original in German:

"Wie Sie aus einliegendem Befehl der Reichsbanknebenstelle Eupen ersehen, muss ich Sie also hierdurch ersuchen, die genannten in ihrem Depot ruhenden Wertpapiere an das Bankhaus A. Hofmann & Co. auszuliefern."


"As you can see by the added order of the branch of German Reichsbank in Eupen I have to request you to deliver the mentioned commercial papers - which are in your depot - to deliver them to the bank house "A. Hofmann & Co."

Whereas the document was not indicating any doubt that there was no voluntary act nor any authorization of a transfer of the Swiss clearing office the bankers were not hesitating any moment. Already eleven days after having received the letter the Swiss high street bank CS was eliminating the depot completely and was delivering the papers "by order of Mrs. Dr. med. Laura Mayer Homberg" to the depot 437 II of the German Reichsbank in the German Gold Discount Bank at the bank A. Hofmann & Co. Then the Hofmann bank was providing the currency for the Germans. On December 9, the bank was purchasing the commercial papers handling the matter being a so called self contractor. The papers were taken from the depot of Gold Discount Bank and currency was payed by Swiss National Bank 11,574.95 Swiss Francs to the directorate of German Reichsbank in Berlin. Then Mrs. Mayer got on December 14 a balance about the sellings of the papers. The profit of exactly 8,014 Reichsmark and 19 pennies was transferred to a blocked account of Dresdner Bank. From this money she had not seen anything any more. IN the meantime Hofmann Bank had sold the papers to other Swiss institutes like Bank J. Vontobel or Vita insurance.

In the lawsuit at the Federal Court [in Lausanne] the two banks were defending themselves now with dubious arguments [p.98].

The lawyers from the Hofmann Bank meant that Mrs. Mayer "had sold the commercial papers on the base of currency rules voluntarily without having been forced by tricks or fear." Credit Suisse Bank was arguing in a similar way. The high street bank was arguing that the risk of a concealment of the papers had been not considerable because there had been the bank secret in Switzerland. But now Swiss Federal Court was speaking clear words to the lawyers of Hofmann and CS not accepting these faked arguments.

Original in German:

"Wenn die Klägerin der Auffassung zur Anbietung und Ablieferung ihrer ausländischen Titel nachkam, so tat sie dies unzweifelhaft im Hinblick auf die schweren Strafen, die nach der Verordnung vom 7. Juni 1940 auf der Nichtbeachtung dieser Aufforderung standen. Sie liess sich also unter dem Einfluss begründeter Furcht, wofür die Besatzungsmacht verantwortlich war, zur Aufgabe des Eigentums an den streitigen Titeln bestimmen."


"When the complainant was following the law of indicating and delivering the foreign commercial papers then she was doing this without any doubt with the concern that there were heavy penalties in the case of not obeying with the rule of June 7, 1940 which were mentioned in the requirement. Thus she was provoked to give up her possession - the commercial papers which are in discussion here -  by the justified fear for which the occupation force was responsible."

[Federal judges dispraising sharply the banks Hofmann and SKA]

The behavior of the banks of Hofmann and Credit Suisse was not acceptable at all. Both banks were condemned to pay a full compensation. In the grounds for the judgment Bank of Credit Suisse could hear massive reproaches:

Original in German:

"Die Schweizerische Kreditanstalt ersah aus dem Schreiben der Klägerin vom 15. November 1940 und dem beigelegten 'Befehl' der Reichsbanknebenstelle Eupen vom 11. November 1940 mit aller Deutlichkeit, dass die Klägerin sie nicht aus freiem Antrieb, sondern auf Geheiss der Reichsbank beauftragte, ihre Titel an die Bank Hofmann auszuliefern. Das Schreiben der Reichsbanknebenstelle zeigte ihr auch klar, zu welcher Verwendung die Titel der Bank Hofmann übergeben werden mussten. Als wohlunterrichtetes Bankinstitut wusste sie selbstverständlich, dass die Weisungen der Reichsbank an die Klägerin sich auf die in Eupen eingeführte deutsche Devisengesetzgebung stützten und dass die Gesetzgebung die Missachtung der darin festgesetzten Pflicht zur Anbietung und Ablieferung ausländischer Wertpapiere mit schwerer Strafe bedrohte",


"Swiss Credit Suisse Bank could see by the letter of the woman complainant from November 15, 1940, and by the added 'order' of the branch of German Reichsbank of Eupen from November 11, 1940, with all clarity that the complainant was not acting by her free will but she was acting by the order of the Reichsbank delivering her commercial papers to the Hofmann bank. The letter of the branch of German Reichsbank showed also clearly for what purpose the papers were to give to this Hofmann bank. As a well informed banking institution the bank knew of course that the orders of the Reichsbank to the complainant were referring to the German Nazi currency rule in Eupen and that there threats with heavy penalties for not obeying  this new rule and duties registering and delivering foreign commercial papers",

the judges were blaming the Swiss bank of Credit Suisse, and almost in the same sentence there was also proved that this bank was deliberately making profits with looted objects:

Original in German:

"Da die Schweizerische Kreditanstalt bei der Auslieferung der deponierten Titel wusste oder jedenfalls bei gehöriger Aufmerksamkeit erkennen konnte, dass die Klägerin das Eigentum an diesen Titeln unter dem Einfluss völkerrechtswidrigen Zwanges aufgab, war sie beim späteren Erwerb und Besitz der vier Obligationen 3% SBB 1935 (...) bösgläubig. Ihr Einwand [S.99], sie habe die fraglichen Titel beim Kauf nicht wiedererkennen können, kann nicht gehört werden; dies um so weniger, als sie diese Titel am 9./11. Dezember 1940, also schon ca. 14 Tage nach der Auslieferung an die Bank Hofmann, von dieser selben Bank kaufte."


"As delivering the deposed commercial papers this Swiss bank of Credit Suisse knew or could know with some attention that the complainant was giving up her possession of these commercial titles under the influence of force against any international law, then she knew about the bad fate of the possessor and she was mala fide purchasing the four titles later which concerns the four bonds of 3% of Swiss Railway (SBB) of 1935. The objection [p.99] that she had not been able to recognize the commercial papers during the purchase cannot be accepted in this way above all because these titles were purchased on December 9/11, 1940, thus about 14 days after the delivery to the Hofmann bank, where the titles were purchased then."

This Mayer case was showing impressively with what self-evidence Swiss banks were executing orders of Nazi authorities [and after 1945 they were denying all with primitive lies]. Such depot transfers and depot valorizations seemed to be a routine matter during the war. Dimensions can only be estimated because of the known reasons. Most affected people were not surviving the war. And where is no complainant there is no judge. Many cases remained without any detection. The maneuvers can be reconstructed only by the cases which were published. We saw here the cases of Burkhard, Freiherr (Baron) von Speth, Bemeleit and Mayer. And now we will se the example of fortunes of Dutch Jews with more decisive evidence - and almost 140,000 Jews were not coming back again [being sent to tunnel constructioning or to the Gulag. The mass murder in German concentrations camps by gassing is a Zionist lie concealing the secret deportations to the Russian Gulag].

[A Jewish bank in Amsterdam becoming a Nazi "valorization office"]

[Dutch Jewish bank Lippmann with accounts in Swiss Francs, florins and eventually a deposit of commercial papers with Swiss Corporation of Banks (Bankverein) - bearer papers can be robbed without problem - registered shares sometimes not]

Since 1940 German occupation was installing a centralized expropriation machine in Holland. For this purpose the Jewish bank Lippmann, Rosenthal & Co. in Amsterdam was confiscated and was converted into a valorization office mainly responsible for commercial papers from the possession of Dutch Jews. As many of these bonds and stocks were in Swiss depots another summary account for aryanization.

In the case of Holland such an institution had been found soon. Since 1925 there had been business relations between Lippmann Rosenthal Bank and Swiss Corporation of Banks (Bankverein) in Zurich with an account in Swiss Francs, with an account in florins and presumably with a depot of commercial papers. Then there must have been many orders by many banks and trustees for making transactions to the depot of Bankverein. It can be admitted that this expropriation was working as it worked with Credit Suisse in the case above. There was no problem with bearer papers. But with registered stocks there could be some problems. Because for the change of the possessor a consent of the management board of the concerning stock company was needed. And from time to time this obstacle could not be evaded as shows the following case of Limmat Industry & Commerce Association PLC (Limmat Industrie & Handelsgesellschaft AG) [p.100].

[Case: 31 name shares of Josephine Hackel in Den Haag - the management board protecting the shares]

Over two years after the end of the war 31 stocks of this company
were published as having been robbed. They were stored in the blocked depot of Lippmann Rosenthal Bank of Corporation of Banks (Bankverein). Then on January 1948 the Limmat Company was getting in touch with the responsible clearing office reporting the events with these commercial papers during the war:

"The matter was about stocks which - according to the stock register of the Limmat company - were in the possession of a Mrs. Josephine Hackel with domicile in Den Haag. These stocks were administered at the cost of Mrs. Hackel by N.V. Handels-Maatschappij Ampra in Amsterdam. In 1941 the papers were in a safe of the mentioned company in Swiss Credit Suisse in Zurich for which the president of our management board, Mr. lawyer Dr. Max Schneider, had an authorization. Ampra company then was ordering Mr. Dr. Schneider to take the mentioned stocks from the mentioned safe delivering them to the bank house Lippmann, Rosenthal & Co. at Sarphati Street 47-55 [in Amsterdam] respectively they should be deposed at the cost of him at Swiss Corporation of Banks (Bankverein) in Zurich. First Mr. Dr. Schneider was rejecting this order, but then he was getting repeated requires and reclamations because the banking house of Lippmann, Rosenthal & Co. was asking the clearing office asking if such a delivery could be or if it should be rejected on the base of the blocks being ordered by national Swiss government (Bundesrat). Unfortunately the answer of the clearing office in those times was informing that a change of the depot had to be permitted in Switzerland and there was only the limitation that the block on the base of the government's decision of July 6, 1940, would count also for the new deposit. Then the disputable stocks were delivered to Swiss Corporation of Banks on November 20, 1941", this was the written information of the Limmat company.

Mrs. Josephine Hackel had luck. The responsibles of the Swiss stock company were not accepting being degraded to be an assist of German orders.

Original in German:

"In der Folge verlangte die Firma Lippmann, Rosenthal & Co. über den Schweizerischen Bankverein, dass wir die erwähnten 31 Aktien der Frau Josephine Hackel auf den Namen des Bankhauses Lippmann, Rosenthal & Co. umschreiben sollte. Da nach den Statuten unserer Gesellschaft ein Eigentümerwechsel an Aktien unseres Unternehmens vom Verwaltungsrat genehmigt werden muss, wurde das erwähnte Gesuch unserm Verwaltungsrat unterbreitet. Dieser lehnte die Umschreibung [S.101] ab, so dass die 31 Aktien in den Büchern unserer Gesellschaft immer noch als Eigentum der Frau Josephine Hackel figurieren."


"In the following time the company Lippmann, Rosenthal & Co. was requiring over the Swiss Corporation of Banks (Bankverein) that we would change the mentioned 31 stocks of Mrs. Josephine Hackel on the name of the banking house Lippmann, Rosenthal & Co. As according to our company rules a change of the owner of stocks of our company has to be approved by the management board of the company, the mentioned inquiry was submitted to the management board. And the management board was rejecting this change [p.101] thus the 31 stocks are remaining in our books of our company being registered yet under the name of Mrs. Josephine Hackel."

Despite of the repeated ordinance given over the Corporation of Banks the Limmat company remained hard and was blowing the deal at the last moment. By hindering the alienation the commercial papers had no value for the Germans who were addicted for currency - because the papers were unsalable. In the other case the stocks had been sold and the profit had been shifted flowing back in Swiss Francs to the Third Reich. And the block ordered by the national government had been evaded one more time as it was in the case of Mrs. Laura Mayer.

Such transactions in connection with alienation of papers in combination with partly negligent behavior of the banksters with the commissioners, with so called executors of testaments and with extorted authorizations are explaining one part of the fact that the successors of Nazi victims are looking in vain for the fortunes of their fathers, grandfathers or other familiars. In many cases there in fact are existing no abandoned funds any more because they had been shifted to the German Reich already during the war or even before the war. The fortunes were flowing back to Germany or were disappearing in the Swiss Corporation of Banks (Bankverein), in the Hofmann Bank, or in other banks where German summary accounts were installed where the Nazis could serve themselves.

[The numbers of the commercial papers are the precondition for a lawsuit - the "standard letter" of Swiss banks after 1945]

Only very few survivors could indicate the exact numbers of the alienated commercial papers and could fight for their rights so. The whole rest had no chance and was sent away by a standard banking letter, or was receiving a mysterious answer [p.102].

We thank the Swiss banks which were financing a part of the Third Reich by their systematic robbery. All this happened on "neutral" territory. But the constant commercial war of Jewish Zionists in New York against Germany since 1933 is not so innocent concerning the actions against Jews in Europe, but just this constant Zionist war was delivering always again and again an argument to approve a behavior in favor of the Third Reich - which could bribe many Swiss responsibles with aryanized gifts...]

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