DID THE VATICAN BANK HIDE NAZI GOLD?
“Remember your oath,” shouts the commander of the Swiss Guard to his men. “You must not ever talk about this here.” He points to dozens of crates that are now being unloaded from a truck and carried into the Bastion of Nicholas V— home of the newly founded Vatican Bank. The men stay silent, but they know precisely what they are keeping under wraps: wealth that was stolen from murdered men, women, and children.
Flashback, April 12, 1941: Hitler’s troops have conquered Belgrade. Soon they divide the nation of Yugoslavia between primarily Catholic Croatia and Protestant Serbia. Particularly in Croatia, the puppet dictator Ante Pavelic oversees a brutal regime on behalf of the Nazis, resulting in the murder of up to 750,000 people— mainly Jews and Romani. The Ustaše, as the dictator’s brutal militia is called, is responsible for the slaughter. Its men plunder the possessions of their dead victims, hoarding millions. By the end of the war, the Ustaše has a vast collection of gold dental fillings, jewelry, and gemstones worth around $80 million— and starts looking for a way to transport the riches to other countries without being noticed. And that is where the Vatican Bank came into play— it had been established for just such a purpose three years earlier. The Nazi treasure hoard is concealed in the seat of the Vatican Bank and partially absorbed into the Church. In 1999 Holocaust survivors tried to sue the Istituto per le Opere di Religione, but the institution remained uncooperative. The case was dismissed in 2007; the bank is part of the sovereignty of the Holy See and thus immune. This special status soon leads to dealings with the underworld…
BLOOD GOLD To this day, the Vatican is alleged to still contain jewelry, gold bars, and precious gems that the Nazis had taken from their dead victims.