The German Gold Discount Bank and the Persecution of the Jews in Yad Vashem Studies, Volume 40:2

Christine Schoenmakers


The German Gold Discount Bank (Dego) and the Persecution of the Jews 1933–1945

Between 1933 and 1945, the Dego played a considerable role in the expropriation of Jewish capital. Originally founded to stimulate the Reich’s export policies, it served as the trade center for cash, stocks, and illiquid property (real estate, businesses, etc.), and arranging its registration, transfer, and utilization in favor of the Nazi economy. Jewish capital was mainly transferred (expropriated) under the guise of emigration and/or Aryanization. By 1938 the German government had institutionalized the nationwide exploitation of the Jewish minority. The authorities’ aim was to prevent Jewish emigrants from transferring their property beyond the reach of the Reich’s exchequer. Hence, the Dego exchanged frozen emigrant assets (cash and stocks) into the convertible, free Reichsmarks, at great loss to the owners. Furthermore, in its role as export custodian, the Dego closely monitored those Jewish companies that were of importance for Germany’s foreign trade. Moreover, it largely controlled the flow of information between the involved state institutions and the company to be Aryanized. It appears as though no single institution alone profited directly from the Aryanization and liquidation of Jewish capital. Nevertheless, research shows that a highly effective network of different authorities administered key information related to ongoing Aryanization and greatly influenced relationships with local and trans-regional institutions.