Reading Götz Aly, or “Jewish financing” of the WWII

In his books Hitlers Volksstaat (English version Hitler’s Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War and the Nazi Welfare State) German historian Götz Aly attracts attention of the reader to the frequently overlooked fact that the Holocaust for Nazi regime rather had not demographical or political goals, but fiscal ones. Jews were not simply relocated to ghettoes, sent to concentration camps, or killed. First and foremost of all, their property was confiscated, and Nazi Regime used the property and proceedings of selling it to finance its social programs and war efforts.

Real estate and liquid wealth of Jews (buildings, businesses, stocks, deposits, precious gems and metals, jewelry, garments, luxury items) was nationalized and legally treated as a credit to government trust funds which were put in charge of handling those assets. Involuntary “creditors” were separated from the control over their former funds and were given per diem allowance for everyday needs of about $1500 per week. Over time, when Jews disappeared in camps, their property was classified as “abandoned” and either was used as a guaranty of government bonds, or sold for quite low prices. Those who invested in buying this property effectively received indirect subsidies from the government. However poorer Germans received their benefits, too. Despite the low selling prices for the Jewish property, its sheer amount made the government to collect huge sums on the property liquidation sales. These funds were used for the social programs for all Germans and for building the Werhmacht’s war machine, which was used to get more and more European Jews and their wealth into reach of Nazi regime. These policies resulted into unprecedented support of the regime from all Germans.

As a result, 4 billion Reichsmark (or about $60 billion in the current equivalent)  were confiscated from Jews from 1939 to the end of WWII. Considering that before the WWII a bit more than 200 thousand Jews were living in Germany, on an average $1.2 million were expropriated form every abstract Jewish family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children – from a simple reproduction estimate).

To take away Jewish property in the occupied and allied European countries Nazi regime had to jump through additional hoops. According to the Hague Convention, which Nazi Germany tried to comply formally, an occupying power could not have seized and sold property of the civilian population. However, these regulations did not extend over the local authorities of being occupied countries, and this loophole was used for confiscating property of the European Jews. Thus, because of these requisitions, in 1940 budget revenues of France has increased by 211%, Belgium – 200%, Holland – 180%, and Norway – 242%. In 1941 this revenue boom continued, and reached 125% in Belgium, 131% in Netherlands, and 100% in Serbia.

Of course lion share of this spoil was extracted from these countries by Germans, but ordinary people of the occupied and allied countries also directly and indirectly benefited from this big grab of Jewish property. Overall, during war years 20 billion Reichsmark (or about today’s $300 billion) worth property was extracted from the European Jews. Especially these money were needed to finance needs of the Eastern Front. Thus, campaign of 1942 which allowed Germans to reach Caucasus and Volga, as well as campaign of 1943 which ended in the giant battle of the armored armadas near Kursk, were indeed funded by “Jewish money”. However, in reality, contrary to conspirological theorists, “financiers” were doing that involuntarily, and in most cases posthumously (obliteration of the Jews – 4 million – peaked in 1941-42).

So, it was not the 6 million (or 9 million pre-WWII European Jews) which was the target number of Nazi policies. That number was only a means to reach the real target number of 24 billion confiscated Reichsmark ($360 billion in current equivalent), which is about one and a half times more than GDP of the state of Israel with its 8 million population, contemporary technology and work productivity, and a more than a half-century direct and indirect financial infusions from USA. Or, again, calculated per an abstract 4 member family, that target number was about $160 thousand confiscated from each European Jewish family.

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