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Holocaust Restitution: Overview of the London Gold Conference

(November 24, 1999)

An international conference on Nazi Gold was held in London in December 1997, with representatives of 41 nations present.  Under Secretary of State Stuart Eizenstat represented the United States.  The conference addressed the questions of how much gold was stolen, where it went, and what should be done about it, including using assets of the Tripartite Gold Commission (TGC).1   The TGC was formed in 1946 by the United States, Britain and France to deal with recovered gold the Nazis had seized from the national banks of occupied countries.  Since 1946, the TGC has distributed gold and assets to 15 countries whose national banks were looted during World War II: Albania, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, and the Yugoslav successor states.  About 5.5 tons of gold, worth some $60 million, remained to be distributed.2  TGC officials recommended that these countries contribute their portions of the remaining assets to the survivors of the Holocaust.

At the London conference the International Fund for Needy Victims of Nazi Persecution was established for Holocaust survivors and their heirs.  The United States pledged an initial $4 million, with the hope that Congress would approve an additional $25 million over the next three years.  The 105th Congress appropriated $25 million for the International Fund to benefit Holocaust survivors and an additional $5 million for associated archival research.  (H.R. 2591/S. 1564, P.L. 105-158)

*Prepared by Stuart D. Goldman, Specialist in Russian Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division.

1Stuart Eizenstat, “Closing Plenary Statement at the London Conference on Nazi Gold,” December 4, 1997.

2This amounts to less than two percent of the original gold handled by the TGC.

Source: Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress for the U.S. House International Relations Committee.