Banking against Humanity: The Holocaust, the Reichsbank Loot Film and the American Prosecution at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal


  • I am very grateful to Dr Benjamin Jones for the many suggestions that helped in revising this article.


This article examines the complex circumstances surrounding the use of Reichsbank Loot, a film shown by the American Prosecution at the Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Used as part of the case against former Reichsbank President and Minister of Economics, Walther Funk, who was charged, inter alia, with crimes against humanity, the film appeared to provide straightforward visual evidence of some of the products of genocide that had been handled by the Reichsbank during the war. It consisted of a simple sequence of close-up views of valuables such as necklaces, rings, gems, broaches and fob watches. It also showed boxes full of gold dentures. Yet, ulike other films shown at Nuremberg, the veracity of this American-made film was called into question by a number of people, both at the trial and since, most notably by the convicted Holocaust denier David Irving. Now that it has recently become publicly available, the time is ripe for a reassessment of the film and the case against Funk that it supported. This article assesses the veracity of the film and offers some explanations why the silence relating to the film and the case more generally has persisted until now.