Nazi Gold Stories From Argentina

A brief look at what could be called gold stories, legends, or myths, sheds additional light on to the missing Nazi treasures.

The biggest hoard still missing is that of Bormann’s Aktion Feuerland project. Undoubtedly, there are as many myths as there are facts surrounding Bormann’s treasure. Some have taken on the aspects of legends. Thus the reader is forewarned that what follows concerning this hoard may be partially false. What is known with certainty is up until June 1944, Bormann transferred his loot across France in trucks to Spain. In Spain the treasure was transferred to U-Boats, which then made the voyage to Argentina. After D-Day with the land route closed to Spain, Bormann continued his transfer of assets to Argentina by air.

Author, Ladislas Farago claims that the virtually complete record of this operation is preserved in the archives of Coordination Federal in Buenos Aires, in the FBI files, and in the archives of the British Admiralty. The later assumed the U-Boats were on regular patrol. Farago claims the shipments began in 1943 and arrived on a regular basis spaced at six to eight weeks apart. He states the money and gold were deposited in the name of Eva Peron.

According to Farago, the Perons managed to gain control over much of Bormann’s treasure and in Eva’s Rainbow Tour of Europe; she deposited over $800 million in numbered accounts in various Swiss banks.

Farago lists the treasure as:

187,692,400 gold Marks
17,576,386 American dollars
4,632,500 pounds sterling
24,976,442 Swiss francs
8,370,000 Dutch florins
17,280,009 Belgian francs
54,968,000 French francs
87 kilograms platinum
2,511 kilograms of gold
4,638 carats of diamonds and other precious stones.

Farago’s list of Bormann’s treasure above has been partially verified by Adam Lebor, as he specifically list the same quantities of gold and diamonds. Although Farago starts the gold deliveries before the Red House meeting, the Allies first became alarmed at the Nazi gold transfers it in 1943. Allied intelligence believed that much of the first gold to arrive in Argentina was used to finance the Nazi espionage web in South America.

One legend concerning Argentina and Nazi gold claims that in the closing days of the war a fleet of Nazi U-Boats containing the Nazi treasure and top Nazis, including Hitler left Germany for Argentina. In route to Argentina they encountered an Allied naval task force and a battle resulted in the loss of several Allied ships, which the United States continues to deny.

Recently, additional evidence surfaced in "Pravda" shedding new light to the legend. It is known that ten U-Boats were dispatched to Argentina in the last days of the war. Paravda claims that at least 5 of them reached Argentina with no less than 50 top Nazi officials. During the trip the U-boats sunk an American battleship and the Brazilian cruiser Bahia with a death toll of more than 400, including US citizens.

"Pravda" claims the US ship was the USS Eagle 56. However, the US Eagle 56 was sunk on 23 April 1945, off the Maine coast towing targets for dive bombing practice. Only thirteen of the 67 crew members survived. The navy maintained the ship was sunk by a boiler room explosion until recently, finally acknowledging that the USS Eagle 56 had in fact been sunk by U-Boat U-853. U-853 was sunk on 6 May 1945, in the North Sea southeast of New London.

The Bahia was sunk by U-977, which surrendered at Mar del Plata, Argentina on 17 August 1945, and was turned over to the US for testing. Four US radiomen: William Joseph Eustace, Andrew Jackson Pendleton, Emmet Peper Salles, and Frank Benjamin Sparksere were aboard the Bahia and were killed. The US Navy still lists the men as missing in action. Brazil ascribes the sinking of the Bahia to an onboard explosion.

The article in "Pravda" was based on information from Argentina researchers Carlos De Napoli and Juan Salinas. They claim that a fleet of almost 20 U-Boats sailed from the Norwegian port of Bergen, between 1 and 6 May. They joined another group of U-Boats coming from the US coasts around Cape Verde. There they learned of the surrender. Some scuttled their boats, others surrendered, and still others set course for Germany. However, at least six of the U-Boats proceeded for Argentina. Further, the article claimed that the Argentina Navy was ordered to stop attacks on German U-Boats operating close to Argentina beaches, on orders from Churchill. Farago for one has confirmed that the Argentina Navy was issued such an order by Peron. He does not however, mention that the order came from Britain.

The "Pravda" article contains a serious error in the name of the US ship sunk. Due to the controversy of the sinking being listed as a boiler explosion when the survivors reported seeing a trotting horse on a red shield on the conning tower, the sinking of the USS Eagle 56 has been thoroughly investigated. However, the article contains much information known to be true, including the listing of two of the U-Boats: U-530 and U-977. U-530 surrendered in the Mar del Plata, Argentina on 10 July 1945. It was turned over to the US for testing. Other information has been partially confirmed by other investigators. It is also known initially, the US didn’t believe the report of Hitler's suicide at first and launched a search in South America for him and other missing top Nazis. After surrendering, the commander of U-977 Heinz Schäffer was arrested and charged with smuggling war criminals to South America.

Interestingly, U-530 appeared to have been stationed around Cape Verde in 1944. On 23 June 1944, U530 rendezvoused with the Japanese sub I-52 to transfer a radar detector about 850 miles west of the islands. The Allies were aware of the transfer and allied planes managed to sink the Japanese submarine. The I-52 was located in 1955 and still contains 2 tons of gold.

Additional information surfaced in 1997 in Argentina. The national newspaper, "Ambito Financiero", was contacted by a man giving his full German name and his commander's identity number. He claimed he arrived in Argentina after scuttling his U-Boat. In 1970s, a different person making the same claim contacted the same paper. This U-Boat commander wrote that, on Hitler's specific orders, ten submarines, each with fifty officers and crew, were to sail to Argentina to help found the Fourth Reich. Recently, more information on this fleet of U-Boats came from Norway. There, a person claiming to have allegedly worked in an archive department of the Nazi Navy, a large part of which was stationed in southern Norway during the War, discovered additional documents that collaborate the Argentina information. Other researchers have long claimed two U-Boats were scuttled after unloading their cargo of documents and gold in shallow water, which would confirm the two contacts with the paper.

Further confirmation of the Nazis plans comes from the surrendering of U-234 at Portsmouth, New Hampshire on 16 May 1945. U-234 deported from Norway on April 16, 1945. While at sea in the North Atlantic, U-234 learned of the surrendered and the order from Dönitz to abandon operations and surrender. The list of the cargo of U-234 follows:

one ton of diplomatic and personal mail
technical drawings and blueprints for advanced combat weaponry
anti-tank weapons
advanced bombsights and fire-control systems
airborne radar
an Me 262 jet fighter
additional jet engines
560 kilograms of Uranium oxide

Additionally the U-234 carried the following top Nazi experts:

Luftwaffe General Ulrich Kessler, on his way to become German air attache in Tokyo
Luftwaffe Lieutenant Colonel Fritz von Sandrart and Lieutenant Erich Menzel, experts in air communications, airborne radar, and AA defenses
Four Kriegsmarine officers, including a naval aviation expert, an AA expert, a naval construction engineer, and a naval judge [whose job would be to finally stamp out the last vestiges of the Sorge spy ring]
August Brinewald and Franz Ruf, experts in the technology and construction of jet aircraft whose mission was to begin production of Me 262 jet fighters in Japan
Dr. Heinz Schlicke, a specialist in radar and infrared technologies.

The U-234 however, was destined for Japan. The Uranium oxide cargo was intended for Japan's Uranium enrichment project at Hungnam in northern Korea under the direction of Dr Nishina. The technical documents helped immensely in the understanding of Japanese defences. The blueprints also hastened the development of US advanced weaponry. While the U-234 was not part of the escape to Argentina, it lends credence to the Nazi’s ability to transfer their technology abroad and gives the idea of the scope of that transfer. In fact, there was a great deal more co-operation and transfer of technology between Japan and Germany near the end of the war than previously believed.

In "Gold Warriors" Sterling and Peggy Seagrave confirm this trade of Uranium between Nazi Germany and Japan. They report that Japanese cargo submarines were used to haul gold to the Nazi sub base at Lorient, France to pay for the Uranium purchases. German U-Boats and fast surface raiders hauled the Uranium to rendezvous points in Indonesia and the Philippines. From these rendezvous sites, Japanese subs hauled the Uranium to its final destinations in Japan and Korea.

Additionally Argentina was linked to the Nazis through the Austrian Hirtenburg munitions company. Hirtenburg was linked closley with New York's J. Henry Schroeder Bank through a Swiss holding company, Herbertus AG and the Argentine SA de Finanzas. The New York J. Henry Schroeder Bank was a branch of Schroeder Rockerfeller Co Investment Bankers whose three owners during war were Avery Rockefeller, Bruno von Schroeder in London and Kurt von Schroeder of Cologne in Nazi Germany. Nelson Rockefeller was in charge of South American security during WWII; however, he never took any steps against this conduit between Argentina and the Nazis. Tesden Corporation connected to Göring served as a financial link between the Bahamas and Cuba with Nazi Germany. The Bank of the Bahamas was linked with the Mexican Banco Continenta and the Stein Bank of Cologne and was used to create offshore accounts for Gestapo agents in the United States.

This brief look at the Bormann treasure transferred to Argentina readily illustrates the difficulty of sorting fact from fiction in the tales of Nazi loot. Author, Uki Goni has also presented proof of the difficulties encountered in relying on Argentina records. He has found that those records have been purged of incriminating files on at least two different occasions.

The full truth of the Bormann treasure may never be revealed unless the United States and England declassifies all documents from WWII. The "Pravda" article was obviously inflated largely along the lines of the Soviet suspicions of the time. However, setting aside its faults, it sheds additional light on Bormann’s operation that the Untied States and England would like to see buried. Additional searches for German U-Boats along the Argentina coast are already being planned. Any discoveries would only serve to confirm more of the "Pravda" article as well as the contacts made with the Argentina paper.