Portugal and the Nazi Gold
Yad Vashem Studies, Volume XXVII
António Louçã and Ansgar Schäfer
Portugal and the Nazi Gold: The ‘Lisbon Connection’ in the Sales of Looted Gold by the Third Reich
Between January 1, 1939 and October 31, 1945, Portugal received at least 123.8 tons of looted gold directly or indirectly from the Reichsbank, ranking it second only to Switzerland among countries that received stolen gold from the Third Reich. Nazi Germany used stolen gold in order to pay for needed raw materials, such as tungsten, while Portugal was eager to increase its gold reserves. The Swiss National Bank served as one of the main launderers of this looted gold from the Third Reich. After the war, the Allies demanded the return of 44 tons of this gold, most of this being from the Belgian national reserves. However, Portugal consistently refused to hand over more than four tons, claiming that there was no clear evidence that the gold had been acquired illegally. The article examines the labyrinth through which looted gold was transferred to Portugal, helping to increase that country’s gold reserves by nearly 600%.