Nazi Gold by Tom Bower

Nazi Gold by Tom BowerNazi Gold: The Full Story of the Fifty-Year Swiss-Nazi Conspiracy to Steal Billions from Europe's Jews and Holocaust Survivors by Tom Bower
Published by Open Road Media on March 21st 2017
Genres: History
Pages: 404
Format: Ebook
Source: NetGalley

A “compelling [and] carefully researched” account of greed, duplicity, and an unholy partnership between Switzerland and the Third Reich (The Washington Times).   In the third and fourth decades of the twentieth century, the European continent fell, nation by nation, to Nazi Germany’s invincible war machine. But Switzerland remained neutral during World War II, taking no side and bowing to no master. For a long time after, that was the accepted history—but it was a lie.   Respected British investigative journalist Tom Bower reveals the shocking truth about how the government of Switzerland and the Swiss banking industry knowingly collaborated with the Reich during the darkest era in modern history. With the knowledge and acquiescence of the Swiss government, hundreds of millions of dollars stolen from Jewish Holocaust victims—including gold teeth extracted from the mouths of those murdered—were systematically hidden away in Swiss bank accounts.   But these crimes did not end with the defeat of Hitler. For the next half century, Swiss authorities engaged in a covert campaign of lies, subterfuge, and corruption to hide the wealth from its rightful owners—concentration camp survivors and the families of the slain—while freely dispensing the illegally obtained funds to fugitive Nazis.   Written by “one of the finest investigative journalists in the English-speaking world,” Nazi Gold is an explosive true account of state-endorsed crimes and atrocities; of former victims fighting courageously for their due in the face of prejudice, hatred, and indifference; and of the dedicated US Treasury agents who worked tirelessly for decades to right an unconscionable wrong (The Washington Times).  

I am not sure where to begin with this review, and as it deals with very difficult subject matter at time, and therefore I would not want my rating to be considered a commentary on the events that are described in the book.

Needless to say, I don’t think that there are many who could read this book without feeling a burning hatred, or at the very least contempt, for the people who took advantage of Swiss banking laws to shield themselves from their actions during and after the second world war. While this book is titled Nazi Gold, I feel as though this is somewhat inaccurate, as it is in fact that gold of the Jews of Europe, which was stolen by the Nazis.  And to be perfectly frank, it is the story of the Swiss bankers, politicians and bureaucrats, rather than predominantly about the Nazis.

I found this book a rather frustrating read, which I can only imagine reflects in a minute way the frustration of the families who were caught up in this horrible situation. Reading about the events, delays, deceptions, and bureaucratic bloody-mindedness over the course of fifty years did get rather repetitive, and although some of the names and faces changed over time, the excuses and the prevarications stayed the same. I felt – rightly or wrongly – that I was reading the same story over and over again as I progressed through the book.

Was the subject matter interesting, and well-explored? Sure.

Was the writing style engaging? Not particularly, and I felt like it did not build a solid narrative that resolved itself effectively, despite several end chapters.

I have found that there are non-fiction books which have mass-market appeal, and then there are those which will cater to, or be of interest to, only certain demographics, or people with an interest in such things. I feel – sadly – that this book falls into the latter category, as a result of its length, the cyclical repetitive nature of the writing, and a book which is filled mostly with villainous bureaucrats. While it dealt with the subject matter with extreme sensitivity, I don’t think I could have stuck it out to the end if I were not reading it for review.

I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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