Diana Jean Schemo, 'A Nazi's Trail leads to gold - Looted from Jews?- in Brazil', New York Times , 24 April 2002
The article provides information on the investigations of the Brazilian Comissão Especial de Apuraçao de Patrimônios Nazistas (Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Assets.) Among the areas of investigation were: Odessa (a post-war Nazi organization set up to aid and finance former Nazis), stolen masterpieces such as a $1 million Madonna by Raphael exported to Brazil, and dormant accounts opened by Nazis who sought refuge in Brazil. Of these, fourteen accounts were identified, totalling $15 million. The Brazilian Commission received assistance from The World Jewish Congress.
Albert Blume, German born member of the Nazi Party in
Brazil since 1938, died in 1983 leaving in a Brazilian bank vault an estate
worth $4 million of watches, rings, gold bars and gold teeth. Blume's documents,
including a diary in two volumes, found in the vault by Ricardo Penteado,
assigned by the Brazilian court as the legal executor, showed that he joined the
Nazi Party in 1933 but was expelled in 1936. In 1938 he emigrated to Brazil to
work for E. Schlemm & Co., a company acting as an agent for German
businesses trading in Brazil.
His aunt, Margarida Blume has claimed her right to his legacy from Brazilian courts of law. The case came to the attention of the Brazilian Commission to investigate Nazi war criminals. This was 'the first discovery of a perpetrator's [bank] account', according to Rabbi Marvin Hier, head of the Simon Wisenthal Centre in Los Angeles.
A member of the Brazilian Commission, Rabbi Henry Sobel, contends that the fortune did not belong to Blume who was, in his opinion, a spy later used as a conduit for stolen gold. A Colonel Walter Blume was condemned to death at Nuremberg, but later the sentence was commuted in 1951 to 25 years and reduced further in 1955. According to Ottavio Costa, editor of Manchete, (whose source is the Holocaust survivor Ben Abraham) this was the same man as the Albert Blume who died in Brazil in 1983, who had been a key figure in Odessa and a Gestapo Colonel: Walter Blume sentenced at Nuremberg for his role in the extermination of Jews in Eastern Europe. It would be useful if the Nazi's diary, which Sobel was translating into Portuguese, as he states in his article Rabbi Henry I. Sobel, 'Looted Nazi Gold: The Brazilian Connection' Cardozo Law Review (November 1998), were published, or at least to know where it is to be stored in the future.
New York Times , 24 April 2002