Does “Finders keepers” count if the found item is Nazi gold? If it depends on how much, the estimated value is $130 million. If it depends on where it was found, the gold was discovered on a shipwreck 120 km (75 miles) off the coast of Iceland. If it depends on who found it, it was a British salvage company. If it depends on where it came from, it was sent to Germany by South American banks or subsidiaries of German banks. If there’s only one ‘keeper’, there’s going to be lots of losing weepers. Who will get this Nazi gold?
According to The Sun, the last place the gold was before it ended up on the ocean floor was South America, where the banks – including Banco Germanico, a subsidiary of German Dresdner bank -- delivered it to Brazil in 1939 shortly before the start of World War II to be shipped to Germany to fund the Nazi war machine. The estimated four tons of gold was loaded into a chest which was then placed in the hold of the SS Minden, a steam turbine cargo ship.
The SS Minden set sail for Germany on September 6, 1939 - five days after Germany invaded Poland. According to reports, it was intercepted in the Atlantic Ocean south of Iceland by the British Royal Navy’s HMS Calypso. The captain received orders – allegedly from Hitler himself – to sink the ship, which he did. The crew was rescued by the HMS Dunedin which took them to the famous Scapa Flow naval base in the Orkney Islands off the northern coast of Scotland. The SS Minden and its gold remained lost on the bottom of the ocean.
That changed earlier this year when the salvage vessel Seabed Constructor belonging to Advanced Marine Services found the shipwreck. It would have also found the gold had it had the proper permit when the Icelandic Coast Guard showed up in April. Now it’s had to reapply for permission to cut a hole in the Minden’s hull, remove the chest and see what kind of shape the gold is in … if the story is true and it’s still there.
Then there’s the little matter of agreeing on who it belongs to. The four tons of gold is estimated to be worth at least $130 million. This is not the legendary “stolen gold” that the Nazis took from occupied territories and attempted to hide overseas both during and after the war. Claims from the salvage company, the various governments, the victims and even the banks could be considered.
Is there a right thing to do with this gold? How about using it to make sure what happened then never happens again? Is $130 million enough?