First posted 11/11/00, Herald-Tribune Newscoast
The president of the Florida Holocaust Museum said Saturday that George W. Bush's grandfather derived a portion of his personal fortune through his affiliation with a Nazi-controlled bank.
John Loftus, a former prosecutor in the Justice Department's Nazi War Crimes Unit, said his research found that Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a principal in the Union Banking Corp. in Manhattan in the late 1930s and the 1940s.
Leading Nazi industrialists secretly owned the bank at that time, Loftus said, and were moving money into it through a second bank in Holland even after the United States declared war on Germany. The bank was liquidated in 1951, Loftus said, and Bush's grandfather and great-grandfather received $1.5 million from the bank as part of that dissolution.
"That's where the Bush family fortune came from: It came from the Third Reich," Loftus said.
Loftus made his remarks during a speech as part of the Sarasota Reading Festival. The author of "Unholy Trinity: The Vatican, The Nazis and the Swiss Banks," Loftus documented the Swiss bank accounts that harbored funds confiscated from Holocaust victims and the participation of Italian priests in smuggling Nazi war criminals to safe haven in Canada, Central and South America and the United States after the war.
Although he said he had a file of paperwork linking the bank and Prescott Bush to Nazi money, Loftus did not provide that documentation Saturday.
Loftus pointed out that the Bush family would not be the only American political dynasty to have ties to the "wrong side of World War II." The Rockefellers had financial connections to Nazi Germany, he said.
Loftus also reminded his audience that John F. Kennedy's father, an avowed isolationist and former ambassador to Great Britain, profited during the 1930s and '40s from Nazi stocks that he owned.
"No one today blames the Democrats because Jack Kennedy's father bought Nazi stocks," Loftus said. Still, he said, it is important to understand these historical connections for what they tell us about politics today. The World War II experience points out how easy it was then -- and remains today -- to hide money in multinational funds.
That money flows into American politics today, he said, from "a series of multinational corporations behaving like pirates. They don't care about ideology; they care about money."
Loftus' speech left many in tears.
"I am absolutely shocked," said Nancy Krauss of Punta Gorda. "I wish this would have come out before the election. My husband voted for Bush. I don't think he would have voted for him if he would have known."
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