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"We'll all be rich, rich as Nazis!"
During the course of World War Two, the Nazis found themselves in possession of a large quantity of gold, ahem, appropriated from subjugated peoples, such as their jewelry, any decorations, or sometimes literally from their mouths. Due to the economic situation in Germany just before the war, few other nations were inclined to have faith in their IOUs. So, Germany made many of its large purchases with quantities of gold, transferred to many nations and sometimes in U-boats for secrecy.
Unsurprisingly, this has excited a lot of people. Like pirates, Nazi Germany is imagined to have secreted large amounts of gold in hidden places, ripe for the avid adventurer to discover. If you find Nazi Gold, it's unequivocally yours - like finding spare change between couch cushions. At the very least, if you find this gold and turn in to the proper authorities, you'll be undercutting any of Those Wacky Nazis remnants from using it to finance any trouble.
Aside from gold, the lost Nazi treasure might also include other valuables pilfered by the Nazis, such as jewelry and priceless works of art.
Half-Truth in Television. While discoveries are not unheard of, finders does not mean keepers. The gold still has legal owners somewhere (and considering how the Nazis got some of those valuables, you'd probably be considered one of the ultimate dicks in the universe for not returning it to its pre-Nazi owners or their descendants). On the other hand, there is the possibility that the owners might give you a small reward for doing so (this is rare, but hardly unheard-of, particularly if you went to particular trouble to get it).
A specific sub-trope of Nazi Gold, popular in central and eastern Europe, involves the Amber Room, which was evacuated from Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) and never seen since.
- Nazi gold is one of the things Lupin the Third steals in an episode that will probably never see airtime in the states.
- Towards the end of Hellsing it's shown how Millenium has managed to fund their organization for 60+ years. Apparently they have a massive horde of stolen treasure, including a bunch of silver and gold teeth.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, a character is paid in gold for his service to the Delaz Fleet Zeon rebels. The gold looks EXACTLY like the Reichsbank gold bar the Nazis used, with the exception of the swastika replaced by the Duchy of Zeon crest. Given the re-occurring allusions to Nazi Germany that the Duchy of Zeon used, this is highly appropriate.
- In Uncanny X-Men #161, it is revealed that Magneto stole a vast horde of Nazi gold from Baron Von Strucker that he later used to fund his terrorist activities. Considering his back story, one is tempted to say "good for him".
- In Warren Ellis' Ministry Of Space, it turns out the British space program was funded primarily from the assets of those who died in the Nazi concentration camps.
- Subverted in the German comic Rudi. When they get lost in a cavern, they find two skeletons of Nazi soldiers and a huge box full of - invalid old paper money.
- In the first "season" of Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics following the television series, Buffy's had the oh so brilliant idea of funding the Slayer organization by robbing Swiss banks. She justified by saying it was all probably Nazi gold anyway. The Slayers using their powers to rob banks didn't exactly endear them to the authorities.
- In the Postal movie, Uwe Boll confesses that he finances his movies with Nazi gold. "Someone has to spend it!"
- James Bond wagers a captured bar of Nazi Gold in a golf game with Goldfinger, implying that he can supply more to the avaricious gold dealer.
- In Kelly's Heroes, A Ragtag Bunch of Misfits attempt to steal a hoard of Nazi gold for themselves while World War Two is still raging.
- Armour of God II (Operation Condor to Eaglelanders), starring Jackie Chan on a quest to uncover a lost Nazi stash.
- In Dead Snow, a group of Norwegians find Nazi gold hidden beneath their cabin. Unfortunately, the undead Nazis want it back.
- Three Kings uses the Kelly's Heroes idea, but applies it Saddam Hussein and gold stolen from the Sheiks who ran Iraq before he came to power.
- The 1970s film Brass Target tells the (hypothetical) story of how a group of corrupt U.S. Army officers hired an assassin to kill Patton and make it look like an accident, to cover up their theft of a shipment of recovered Nazi gold.
- In X Men First Class, a young Erik Lehnsherr (future Magneto) trolls a Swiss banker with a bar of Nazi Gold. It even has the Eagle embossed on it.
- In Hellboy Haupstein pays a guide to the site where Rasputin could be resurrected with a bar of gold stamped with a swastika, then kills him.
- In Cryptonomicon, the modern heroes search for Yamashita's gold, more or less the Far East equivalent of this trope. A smaller cache transferred from the Nazis to their Japanese allies also figures in the plot.
- In the James Bond short story Octopussy, Bond is assigned to apprehend a hero of the Second World War implicated in a murder involving a cache of Nazi gold. Agent 007 appears briefly in this story, which is told mostly in flashback and from the point of view of Major Dexter Smythe, the villain.
- This story is briefly mentioned in the film version, with the title character being Smythe's daughter.
- In Alistair Maclean's Bear Island, a film crew is sailing to a remote arctic island. Eventually, it turns out that the film is a ruse, as the producers are in fact after a lost U-boat containing Nazi gold.
- In the Dirk Pitt novel Dragon, Dirk helps uncover a stash of various Nazi treasures. As a reward for his help in uncovering the stash (And disabling a lethal booby trap), the German officer in charge of the excavation lets him keep one of the Me-262 fighter jets stored there.
Live Action TV
- One of the many, many, many MacGuffins in Allo Allo were some Nazi gold bars, which were being stolen by three different Nazi groups, a cafe owner and his waitress, and two different resistance groups. Along with some paintings and various other bits and pieces.
- Guy Secretan of Green Wing is Swiss, and is often insulted for his heritage, including references to Nazi gold. One hurricane of stereotypes runs:
Guy: "Shut your eyes, think of Switzerland - what do you see?"
Mac: I see a chocolate Phil Collins coming out of a clock every hour, to tidy up his Nazi gold."
- In an anecdote during his Tinselworm show, Bill Bailey tells how at a corporate UBS gig he was told not to swear, which he was fine with, or mention Nazi gold, which was a problem for him as he starts his act by descending from the ceiling on a giant golden swastika, asking to open an account in NAZI GOLD!
- In March 2008, The Colbert Report picked up a story about Nazi gold possibly being buried in a small town in Germany. It quickly turned into a parody of Indiana Jones/The Da Vinci Code/National Treasure-type plots ("Oh, they laughed at me at the academy!"), culminating with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, armed with a basketball, being sent to wrest the treasure from the hands of the Germans. It Makes Sense in Context. No it doesn't.
Stephen: [breaking character after looking at the caption that identifies him as "Stephen Colbert, Nazi Treasure-Hunter"] That actually... I think the hyphen is in the wrong place there... this makes me seem like a Nazi who is hunting treasure, as opposed to someone who is hunting Nazi treasure. It's a small but significant difference.
- Not gold, but the comedy Private Schulz had the protagonists seeking the forged British bank notes which had been dumped in a lake in Austria. Like every other plan of the title character to get his hands on them, it fails.
- An episode of Foyle's War has a family of British Nazi sympathizers and some smuggled Nazi Gold.
- A peculiar example comes from White Collar in the form of an amber-covered music box supposedly taken from the Amber Room. This music box has become the backbone of the show's developing Myth Arc.
- The music box is one of the clues that eventually leads to a sunken Nazi submarine filled with Nazi treasure and stolen art.
- An episode of Pawn Stars had one seller come in trying to sell off some silver pieces his grandfather got from a Nazi stronghold during World War II; not surprisingly, the pawn shop didn't take them.
- An episode of Auction Kings had someone try to auction off a Nazi handbook his father got from the war. In this case, however, there was a buyer.
- As part of a bizarre fake infomercial on Adult Swim, there's an ad for a mom-and-pop store that specializes in exchanging Nazi gold for money.
- That Mitchell and Webb Sound (the Radio version of That Mitchell and Webb Look) featured a sketch with a Swiss radio program about the History of Switzerland. The particular episode was "The Years 1939 to 1945: The Gold Rush".
Old Swiss Man: My brother ze bank manager came to me and said he had run out of room in his bank vault for all of ze gold. And so I hit upon an idea. I decided to move my entire family up into our attic so that we could fill ze rest of ze house with Fascist Treasure.
- Uncharted: Drake's Fortune sees the hero on the trail of El Dorado - and following in the footsteps of the Nazis who got there first.
- Deus Ex featured the Templar Gold which had been hidden from the Nazis.
- Wolfenstein 3D allowed the player to collect oodles of gold trinkets to gain points; if they got enough gold, they got an extra life bonus. Return to Castle Wolfenstein also included collectible gold and other precious things (including some bottles of Saint-Émilion 1938, a great Bordeaux wine) as a nod to its predecessor, but here it was primarily used as an Easter Egg and gave no benefit to the player.
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni. Episode 7, Requiem of the Golden Witch, reveals that Kinzo's ten tons of hidden gold is, while not quite Nazi gold, gold that belonged to the Italian Social Republic that was smuggled by U-boat out of Italy before it fell. The impression on the gold bars is not actually the Ushiromiya one-winged eagle crest, but a partially faded imprint of the ISR eagle.
- In one episode of Freemans Mind, Gordon Freeman speculates that there's Nazi Gold hidden somewhere in Black Mesa. "Ziegen Sie Mir das Geld!"
- The Chaos Timeline has fascist gold, which is discovered by Red Pirates who decide to take off for Braseal (sic) instead of giving it back.
- Subverted in The Simpsons episode "Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in 'The Curse of the Flying Hellfish'"; when Abe finally unlocks his stash of Nazi Gold (and paintings), he is immediately stopped by Federal agents who return it to the rightful owner; a spoiled and obnoxious young German man.
Agent: Baron von Wortzenberger, on behalf of the American people, I apologize for --
Baron: Ja ja ja, mach schnell mit der art things, huh? I must get back to Dancecentrum in Stuttgart in time to see Kraftwerk. (they begin loading paintings into his car) ...Hey, watch out for the CD-changer in mein trunk! Idiot.
- On the subject of not giving Nazi Gold to its rightful owners, Swiss banks held onto their stashes for quite some time. When they finally did return the gold, it was considered 'too little, too late'
- On the other side of the Axis, Imperial Japan too was known to have looted quite a bit from much of Eastern Asia and there are occasional stories of finding hidden caches of Imperial Gold. This was the basis for part of the plot in Cryptonomicon.
- Better yet are the missing Swords. So at the end of World War 2, after the Japanese surrendered, all arms had to be turned in, this was interpreted to include swords, and cultural treasures were not spared. American servicemen tended to look for souvenirs and grab the nicest swords they could. Swords worth millions are still lost. Honjo Masamune is the equivalent of the Mona Lisa of swords and still missing.
- Russia goes through upheavals very regularly, and every time a lot of gold belonging to a dead regime allegedly vanishes into nowhere. The two latest examples are Admiral Kolchak's Gold (actually the Russian Imperial gold), and the Soviet "Gold of the Party". Both are memetic treasures with unknown whereabouts.
- ↑ which was basically a Nazi puppet state