“We will hang the capitalists with the rope that they sell us,” once said Lenin. As it turned out, it’s Hitler who really should have said it, as I was cruised past the Full Movies Documentary, “Hitler’s Bankers ” and looked into the matter online.
Yes, quite a number of Swiss Banks collaborated with the Nazis and cleaned their money but the biggest offense come from an institution that still exists – The Bank of International Settlements.
Following the Munich Agreement and Czechoslovakia’s annexation, the first thing the Nazi’s did upon entering Prague was fill out a rather large withdrawal slip at the national bank – armed guards providing the necessary identification. As such, the directors of the bank were ordered to send a request for 23.1 metric tons of gold that was held in an account for Czechoslovakia at the BIS in London.
Of course, the Czech officials were certain that the requests would not be honored of the obvious duress they were under. The officials were sadly mistaken. “This exhibits a window into a world of fearful deference to authority, the primacy of procedure over morality, a world where, for the bankers, the most important thing is to keep the channels of international finance open, no matter what the human cost,” according to The Telegraph’s Adam Lebor and his article, “Never Mind the Czech Gold the Nazis stole.”
Nonetheless, the state of war that soon followed put no holds on BIS standard procedure. “The BIS was so entwined with the Nazi economy that it helped keep the Third Reich in business. It carried out foreign exchange deals for the Reichsbank; it accepted looted Nazi gold; it recognized the puppet regimes installed in occupied countries, which, together with the Third Reich, soon controlled the majority of the bank’s shares,” writes Lebor.
Not to be outdone, the Nazis continued to pay interest on BIS loans. “Thus, through the BIS, the Reichsbank was funding the British war economy,” says Lebor.
Banking without borders also extended to our shores. Thomas McKittrick was an American Banker and President of the BIS when the US entered the war and danced the blurred lines to keep the BIS in business. While he did pass information back to the OSS from Nazi bank officials, there was definitely cooperation between allied and German business interest through BIS.
Known as the “Harvard Plan,” reports Lebor, “as allied soldiers were fighting through Europe, McKittrick was cutting deals to keep the Germany economy strong.”
Conveniently framed under the necessity of planning for the post war economy, the argument held more than enough water against the efforts of those like Henry Morgenthau who tried to close down the bank. Making them pay wasn’t in the cards either, as five BIS directors were tried for war crimes.
“They don’t hang bankers,” said Hjalmar Schacht, the onetime president of the Reichsbank. He was right.
None the BIS officials convicted, the behemoth would over the decades pave the way euro, has only about 140 secret customers and made a tax-free profit of about £900 million last year. Additionally, every other month it hosts the Global Economy Meetings, where 60 of the most powerful central bankers meet, while making itself a central pillar of the global financial system, according to Lebor.
And you wanted a few American bankers – or even one - to go to jail for the mere global economic crisis they caused in 2008. Yeah, good luck with that.