Important Role of former Nazis in Eastern Germany." 

November 21, 1950
Central Files Decimal Number 762B.00

SAFEHAVEN Reports on Nazi Looting of Occupied Countries and Assets in Neutral Countries

Date Range: 1944-1945
Content: 8,853 pages
Source Library: U.S. National Archives

Description

As the tide of battle turned decisively in favor of the Allies on the eastern and western fronts, the focus of economic warfare against Germany also shifted. While maintaining the fundamental goal of blockading and defeating the Nazi regime, the Allies increasingly aimed their efforts at preventing the enemy from moving its resources outside Germany and to prevent the regime's revival at a later date.

The goals of the U.S.- led SAFEHAVEN program (as it came to be known since its goal was to deny any “safe haven” for Nazi looted assets) were to block Germany from transferring assets to Switzerland and the other neutral nations, to ensure that German wealth would be available for the reconstruction of Europe and for the payment of reparations to the Allies, to enable properties looted by the Nazis in occupied Europe to be returned to their owners, to prevent the escape of key German personnel to neutral havens, and above all, to deny Germany the capacity to start another war. There was general agreement within the U.S. Government and with its Allies regarding these overall objectives. But internal differences among U.S. agencies meant the President never received consistent advice about how strenuously to push these SAFEHAVEN measures and how far to use wartime economic power to force Switzerland and the other neutrals to adhere to the program. Moreover, splits between the Allies exacerbated the problem.

SAFEHAVEN was the code name of a project of the Foreign Economic Administration, in cooperation with the State Department and the military services, to block the flow of German capital across neutral boundaries and to identify and observe all German overseas investments. In order to coordinate research and intelligence-sharing regarding SAFEHAVEN-related topics, the War Crimes Branch received SAFEHAVEN reports from various agencies of the U.S.  Government, as well as SAFEHAVEN-related military attaché reports, regarding the clandestine transfer of German assets outside of Germany that could be used to rebuild the German war machine or the Nazi party after the war, as well as art looting and other acts that elicited the interest of Allied intelligence agencies during the war. Another aspect of the SAFEHAVEN project was the restoration of looted art treasures to their rightful owners.

SAFEHAVEN Reports on Nazi Looting of Occupied Countries and Assets in Neutral Countries includes SAFEHAVEN reports and letters, cables, and military attaché reports referring to specific SAFEHAVEN reports or SAFEHAVEN-related topics.

This collection features a wealth of information necessary for research in Holocaust Studies, European Studies, German Studies, World War II Studies, Military History, Diplomatic History, International Affairs, Law and Legal History, and Political Science.

An intuitive platform makes all collections within the Archives Unbound platform cross-searchable by subject or collection.

Help us create