Catholic World News Service
Daily News Briefs
JULY 22, 1997
* DOCUMENTARY CREW CLAIMS VATICAN HOARDED NAZI GOLD
* US REPORTS CHINA, RUSSIA INCREASE RELIGIOUS REPRESSION
* CATHOLIC CHURCH TO TEACH HUMAN RIGHTS TO PARAGUAY'S ARMY
* JUDGE MAKES UNUSUAL SPEECH IN LAWSUIT AGAINST DIOCESE
* VATICAN TELEVISION MAKES PLEA FOR US CONDEMNED PRISONER
* US EPISCOPAL CHURCH CHOOSES NEW LEADER
DOCUMENTARY CREW CLAIMS VATICAN HOARDED NAZI GOLD
LOS ANGELES (CWN) A US government document discovered by a documentary film crew and released on Monday alleges that the Vatican stored 200 million Swiss francs in gold coins for Croatian fascists at the end of World War II.
The document originally written in October 1946 and released by the A&E Television Network was prepared by the Treasury Departments section on monetary research and reports that pro-Nazi Croatians took about 350 million Swiss francs from Yugoslavia, but the British intercepted about 150 million. The US official, Emerson Bigelow, then writes that an Italian source told him that the rest was stored in the Vatican and later funneled to Spain and Argentina.
The producers of the two-hour cable network documentary, Blood Money: Switzerland's Nazi Gold, said they believe the document to be important and reliable. It is the first link alleging a Vatican connection in a year-long search for information on gold looted by the Nazis or their allies from Jewish victims and conquered nations. The document was discovered too late to be included in the July 26 broadcast of the show.
The Vatican denied the accusation. There is no basis in reality to the report, said spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls. He said it is based on an anonymous source whose reliability is more than dubious.
[other news items deleted for brevity ... JP]