While the neutral countries must forever shoulder the shame of aiding Nazi Germany in accepting looted gold, the Allies, and in particular the Untied States, must also shoulder some of the shame in its recovery of stolen assets. With the exception of Argentina, all of the neutrals claimed a threat from a possible Nazi invasion. In many cases, the threat was real up until 1941, before the Nazis invaded Russia. However, the threat simply did not exist after that. In fact, it can be argued unequivocally that the Nazis were unable to mount another front after the Russian invasion by the fact that they had to delay Operation Barbarossa until after the Balkan campaign was complete in order to free up troops needed for the Russian campaign. Additionally, the amount of trade and the degree of neutrality exhibited by each of the neutral nations was dependent upon the fortunes of the war. This was particularly true of Switzerland, which continued trading with the Nazis until the Allies were at its western border. The end result was the neutral countries were willing to accept blood money for economic advantages.
However, in negotiations over the gold issue, the Allies and the United States in particular was equally willing to sacrifice their morality for strategic gains in the Cold War. Additionally, it is readily apparent in the lack of regards the Allies and the United States exhibited in the handling of the non-monetary gold and the victims of the Holocaust. US authorities were aware of the problem from the start with the discovery of the Melmer account at Merkers consisting of dental gold, gold watches, wedding rings, etc. Albert Thoms, head of the Reichsbank’s Precious Metals Department identified 207 bags at Merkers as belonging to the Melmer account. General Frank McSherry recognized the significance of the Melmer account almost immediately. McSherry suggested that "this SS property contains evidence which would be useful in prosecuting SS war criminals."
The details of the Melmer account were pieced together through examinations of the Reichsbank records and by the interrogations of Thoms, Reichsbank Vice President, Emil Puhl, and SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain) Bruno Melmer. As head of the precious metals department of the Reichsbank, Thoms was able to provide the allies with many of the details concerning the SS account. Thoms told his interrogators that Frommknecht sent him to Puhl in the summer of 1942. Puhl informed him of that the SS was about to begin the shipments to the Reichsbank, and that the shipments would contain jewelry and other items of non-monetary gold and silver. However, because of the secrecy needed, the Reichsbank would be responsible for their disposal. Shortly after this meeting, SS-Brigadeführer (brigadier general) informed Thoms that an SS officer named Melmer would deliver the first shipment in a truck. The shipment arrived on August 26, 1942. The tenth delivery, in November 1942, was the first to include dental gold.
The materials were first deposited in the Melmer account. The items were then sorted. Gold and silver bars, as well as currency, were bought by the bank at full value. Small items like wedding rings were sent to the Prussian Mint for re-smelting. Larger jewelry items were sent to the Municipal Pawnshop, which sold the better valued items. The rest of the material was sent on to (Deutsche Gold-und Silber-Scheideanstalt) Degussa for re-smelting. Degussa was allowed to keep a small portion for industrial purposes, but any gold in excess was sold to the Reichsbank and the amount credited to the Melmer account.
Degussa was a large German firm engaged in metal refining and production of chemicals, including Zyklon-B cyanide tablets used in the gas chambers. The Zyklon-B tablets were produced by Degesch, which was owned by Degussa and IG Farben, a chemical concern that was dissolved after the war. Degussa was also the firm that supplied the uranium for the Nazis' atomic bomb project. Recently, Degussa spoke persons have acknowledged ties between Degussa and I.G. Farben during the war. Much of the information surfacing recently about Degussa comes from a lawsuit filed in New Jersey. Degussa held an exclusive contract with the Nazis for re-smelting items taken from the Jews in the concentration camps, including dental gold. There was so much gold being taken from the victims at Auschwitz that Degussa built a smelter there. According to Obersturmbannführer Rudolf Hoss, the commandant of Auschwitz, the daily yield of gold at the camp was 24 pounds.
More recently, Degussa’s role in nuclear proliferation has been brought to light in the film documentary Stealing the Fire. The filmmakers document the trial of Karl-Heinz Schaab, who was tried for treason in Munich. Schaab is the first person in the world convicted of atomic espionage in an open trial in the last fifty years. He sold top secret documents stolen from Germany to Saddam Hussein, and traveled to Baghdad numerous times to help Iraq build an atomic bomb. Schaab was linked to Degussa and Leybold, a Degussa subsidiary. He received an extremely light sentence upon conviction. He was fined only 100,000 Deutschmarks fine and sentenced to 5 years of probation.
However, there is more than meets the eye to the light sentence handed out to Schaab. After the war, Gernot Zippe, known as the "father of the centrifuge" and an employee of Degussa was of great interest to the militaries of several industrialized nations. Zippe was captured by the Russians, and helped them build their atomic bomb. He was returned to the west in 1956. On his return, the CIA immediately snapped him up to work on US centrifuge technology, which is critical in separating isotopes of uranium. Through a convoluted path, a variant of Zippe’s centrifuge technology was discovered in Iraq in 1996. Due to the murky underworld of arms dealing, Degussa was spared charges of treason, largely due to its connections with American defense contractors, such as Du Pont. Shaab was a convenient fall guy. Iraq’s Scud-b missile technology can be described as 90% German and its atomic technology as 60% German.
Additionally, in 1990 Degussa was fined $800,000 for illegally re-exporting nuclear weapons-related material to North Korea. The firm was also implicated in exporting poisonous gas to Libya. Degussa was also a large contributor to the election campaign of George W. Bush. As early as June 1999, Degussa had contributed $1,950. It should be noted that Degussa is a German company contributing to an American election campaign. Today Degussa is a worldwide conglomerate reporting sales of 11,8 trillion Euro dollars. Once again, a corporation associated with the Nazis has advanced unencumbered, since the end of the war. Degussa also represents a corporation that has been so thoroughly corrupted with its past dealings with the Nazis that it is beyond reform. It should be broken up before its dealings can provoke another war. With the rise of fascism globally, the best chance of the fascist, regaining control still lies in provoking another war.
The Foreign Exchange Depository concluded that there were 78 deliveries to the Melmer account, of which about 43 were fully inventoried by the Reichsbank. Bernstein estimated the total value of all the Melmer deliveries to be about 36.17 million Reichsmarks, with gold and silver coin and bullion accounting for 10.67 million. The controversy of the distribution of monetary gold stems from the inclusion of gold taken from the victims of the concentration camps. All gold coins and bars were deemed to be monetary gold. Additional amounts of victim gold classified as monetary gold came from the re-smelting of gold items by Degussa and from the Reichsbank after the Jews were ordered to turn in all gold and silver in 1939. This victim gold became mixed with the monetary gold and some of it was sold to the neutral countries. The controversy renewed in the 1990s has shown beyond any doubt that the inclusion of victim gold into the monetary gold pot was done knowingly by the Allies, including the United States. While the Allies estimated that the amount of gold taken from the victims of the Nazis was $14.5 million, only about $3 million was ever used to help the victims.