the Theft of the Bank of Spain gold reserves by Stalin.....

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Xavier
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the Theft of the Bank of Spain gold reserves by Stalin.....

Post by Xavier » 26 Feb 2003 18:36

"The spaniards will never see their gold again, in the same way they do not see their ears now"
Stalin, 1936

Another ugly chapter in the history of the spanish civil war is the theft of the gold that the spanish republicans sent to the soviet union to guarantee the shipment of military goods to the popular front (republicans)

"The gold would cover red square in moscow"
(Joe Stalin, 1936)

Stalin to Marshal Voroschilov:
"So you have an idea of the amounts of gold unloaded on the Odessa docks, if the boxes were set one next to another, here, the red square, it would be covered from one end to the other"

There were about 7800 boxes, from them, only seven contained gold ingots, 460.2 tons of fine gold. On the other boxes, millions and millions of gold pieces; canadian and american dollars, argentinian, chilean and mexican pesos, austrian, belgian, french and swiss francs, dutch florins, british pounds, german marcs, italian liras, portuguese escudos, russian rubles and spanish pesetas. Thousands of antique and old coins worth several hundred times their value in fine gold.

The value of this treasure was estimated in 518 million dollars (1936 dollars) and the numismatic reserve value was considered the third most important in the world.

The value in gold pesetas amounted to 1,586.2 milions, equal to 72.64 % of the total of the gold reserves stocked in the bank of spain on july 18, 1936, the day the Franco Revolt (spanish civil war) begun.

By train from madrid to cartagena

The first train loaded with the valuable cargo left madrid on september 15, 1936 and the last one arrived two days later at the naval base of the port of Cartagena. The shipments travelled through Castilla, la Mancha and the Betic system. The naval base was called "The Soviet province", there, Docked in front of the maritime station the soviet steamships "Neva", Kine" "Volgoles" and "Kuban". Days before they arrived and unloaded guns, ammmunition and tanks, . Also, the steamship "Magallanes" arriving from Veracruz, México, loaded with rifles and ammunition for the republican forces. The ship's captain, Morales, and its crew have been given a heroe's wellcome., because they have broken through the nationalist navy blockade.

By ship from Cartagena to Odessa

From Cartagena, sailing through the mediterranean onto the Black sea, the steamships dock on the odessa port and there unload the spanish treasure.

Stalin celebrates:

The night of november 12, 1936, the kremlin is profusely illuminated. Stalin celebrates, opulent and theatrical, the arrival to moscow of the spanish trasure. Stalin, whom his closest colaboratos call "Koba" a nickname from his youth years...is flanked by marshal Voroschilov and at his left, Leznov, the "bloody Dwarf" Just recently named chief of the GPU. The secret russian police.

Stalin tells the marshal: ""just so you can have an idea of the amount of gold unloaded in the odessa docks, if you put the boxes one next to another, the red square would be covered from end to end".
Stalion stands and toasts: " the spanish will never see their gold again, just as now they can not see their own ears".

Stalin orders Stashevsky, who has been in charge of bringing the gold from cartagena to odessa and then to Moscow: " Draft a document of a (oficial) receipt for the gold, no more than 8 pages so everything is recorded, and without future chance of turning it back. Make Marcelino pascual (the spanish ambassador ), Grinko (people's Kommisar for the treasurie) and Krestinski (people's delegate for froeign affairs) sign it.
"make sure that Arturo Candela, Abelardo Padin. Jose Gonzalez y Jose Velasco are present when the boxes are opened, and the contents are accounted for , be sure of that, and give them the receipt ,just dated february 5, 1937 be precise on that."

And then Stalin addresses Lezhov; "keep here, in moscow, the people of the Bank of spain, Negrin and Mendez , Aspe has asked me to do it. Is a strategic matter. Keeps information form filtrating"

The Dinner ends, is aproximately 11.00 pm and stalin leaves the kremlin by the Borovitzkaya door, followed by a convoy composed of three limousines, that slowly take Kalinin street to the Arabat, and along Dorgomilovskaya street and the Minsk avenue and follow stalin to his Dasha. Never in his life he sleeps at the kremlin, the theft of the gold of the bankl of spain has been consumated.

"the Stalin Telegram"

Alexander Orlev, Lev Lazarevich Nikolsky Orlov, chief of the secret police , the NKVD, in spain, received the following coded message from Stalin:

"Togehter with Ambassador Rosenberg (Marcel) arrange with the Spanish government chief, Largo Caballero (Francisco) the shipment of the gold reserves from spain to the soviet union. The operation must be performed under the utmost secrecy, if the spanish ask for a receipt , refuse, I repeat, refuse to sign it and tell them it will be given in Moscow by the (soviet) state bank."

The receipt was signed (dated) on february 5, 1937 for just 7800 of the 10,000 boxes sent from madrid to Cartagena, the balance was sent to francia and valencia between september 1936 and february 1937 and vanished in the fog of war.

In 1957 the Receipt and other documents were delivered to the spanish government by Romulo Negrin, son of Juan Negrin, whom as Secretary of the treasury of the popular (people's) front was in charge of the operation.

Of all the gold reserves kept in store in the basements of the bank of spain on july 18, 1936, only came back the first ones the bank of spain deposited to the bank of france to back its credits. This gold was deposited in Mont-de-Marsan and given back to spain after the french governemtn recognized the franco government in 1939.

The Players:

Joe Stalin (no need to introduce the butcher..)

Francisco Largo Caballero: born 1869, dies 1946, presides the council of ministers on representation fo the general union of workers (spain) of which he is secretary general. It is named "the spanish Lenin", he accepts, formally, in a letter, the gold transaction.

Juan Negrin López: Born on the canary islands 1889, dies paris, 1956. in may 1937 succedes Largo caballero in the government's presidency.

Marcel Rosenberg: Stalin's ambassador to Spain.

Arthur Stashevski : Comercial Soviet Attache Asigned by Stalin with " Taking the political and financial reins of the Spanish Republic. And Assigned to handle the sales of soviet weapons to Spain.

Alexander Orlov:Chief of ths NKVD in spain from 1936 until his defection to the US in 1938

Manuel Azaña Diaz, born in alcala de henares in 1880 dies Cataluña, 1940. elected first president of the Spanish republic in 1933, steps down and takes power after being elected again in 1936. Negrin, while being Treasure secretary, got form the government a reserved decree signed by Azaña authorizing him to dipsose at his will of the gold reserves of the bank of spain. Azaña claimed he did not signed the decree, blaming instead ministers Largo Caballero and Negrin, because of hidden facts.

Indalecio Prieto Tuero , Born on oviuedo in 1883 and dies México 1962, minister of the treasure during the government of Niceto Alcala Zamaora, and then again with Azaña. As Air and Sea Minister, in 1936, during an inspection in Cartagena, He notices the Gold Loads in the Soviet steamships and noitifies Azaña, whom, it claims to that moment, ignored the shipment. (for the record)

Ephitome:
On his book, "Convulsiones de españa (Spain convulted) 1968, Prieto writes what he knew all about in 1940: " that the french communist party managed , for war supplies aquisition, 2530 million francs (1936) delivered by Negrin, without the administration of such huge amount being controlled by any spanish government personnel.

Some of the gold found its way to México, where it helped found and finance "Banco nacional de México (not to be confused with the Banco de México, the state's bank) and a huge republican refugee comunity.. exiled just before the civil war ended.....more on this in a later post, some ETA (terrorist) related).

Best regards

Xavier

Please referr any grammar errors by private mail to edit the post.

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TIBERIVS
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Post by TIBERIVS » 28 Feb 2003 10:33

Wow, I dont expect the Russians ever to return any of Spains gold but i think Spain should start pressuring Mexico for it.

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Juha Tompuri
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Post by Juha Tompuri » 05 Mar 2003 20:21

Xavier,

I knew about the theft before, but not the details you posted. Thanks. Interesting (but sad) how much more important to the Spanish communists was the wellfare of communism than their fellow citicens.

Regards, Juha

scout
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Post by scout » 03 Apr 2003 21:14

The Soviet (and Comintern) deeds is impossible to defend in many cases.

But, if the rest of the world (non-fascist world that is), except Mexico and Soviet had not refused to sell arms to Spain, scared that it maybe would have resulted in an all-out war with Germany (Great Britain was the main force behind this policy - it was the days o the appeasement policy). In fact the Soviet aid to Spain was motivated mainly by Stalin´s will to impress Great Britain and France, by showing them the soviet reliability as a force that were willing to fight for democracy against fascism. He wanted to become an ally with the mentioned nations. It did not succeed...

Without the soviet help, the spanish communists would never had reached the power they got (the party was small at the outbreak of the civil war but did increaze it´s numbers of members dramatically).

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Kurt_Steiner
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spanish gold

Post by Kurt_Steiner » 08 Apr 2004 11:11

I don't know why, but I still don't know what to do when I read about the "theft" of the Spanish gold. Laugh? Cry? :P :oops: 8O

The gold was used by the Republican government to pay the weapons and the supplies sent by the USSR during the civil war. Otherwise, why the hell should Stalin send weapons? For free? Uncle Josif wasn't a noble soul, we have to admit... :P

Perhaps I'm wrong, I dunno, but I think that this idea of the "theft" is just one of the silly myths that the right-wind parties invented to justify that Russia was guilty and should be destroyed. It's funny that someone still believes this fairy tale... :D

And, of course, Spain won't say a word about the issue, because then someone would ask Madrid about returning the gold stolen by the Nazis to the Jews. :( Then Madrid should have to answer some embarrassing questions :oops: ... And to remember about the past (particularly the past concerning 1939-75) is quite troublesome and embarrasing for some people of this country. :oops: I wonder why... :roll:

Que país de Romerales... :lol:

Best regards.

mars
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Post by mars » 08 Apr 2004 16:26

Kurt, the thing was that the republic goverment send most of her gold reserve to Soviet, the only major power agree to help her in the war, and a far less amount of gold to France, the main reason for this decision was for safety, then Republic goverment could use these gold to buy weapon with mass destruction from whatever countries, but sadly for Spanish republican, the USSR was the only country agree to sell large amount of modern weapon, not always according to a reasonable price though. So in the civil war period, this was a business and political deal, not a theft, but the problem was when the civil war ended in 1939, there were still large amount of unspend Spain gold left in USSR, and Stalin refused to return them back to Spain, it was only then it became theft, and it was a big shame for Soviet to do such kind of a thing.

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Kurt_Steiner
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spanish gold

Post by Kurt_Steiner » 08 Apr 2004 17:42

The problem was that Stalin didn't wanted to recognize Franco as the legimite ruler of Spain... :?

Following your idea, then, it's a theft. But uncle Joe could argue he was keeping the gold until the Republic was restored...

Nevertheless, uncle Joe won't have send the gold back once in his power...

What about the Jew gold in El Banco de España? It remains there now... Just kidding. :P

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Lord Gort
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Post by Lord Gort » 08 Apr 2004 23:14

1. Largo de Caballero agreed to the transfer?

2. The gold according to Beevor amounted to $700 million?



regards,

mars
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Post by mars » 09 Apr 2004 06:06

Lord Gort wrote:1. Largo de Caballero agreed to the transfer?

2. The gold according to Beevor amounted to $700 million?



regards,


Yes, Prime Minister Caballero approved this transfer, at that time, Span's Gold reserver worthed $788 millions, among these Gold, $500 millions were sent to USSR and $240 millions were sent to France.

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Lord Gort
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Post by Lord Gort » 09 Apr 2004 21:04

Thankyou.


regards,

Malarkey
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Post by Malarkey » 14 Aug 2004 06:42

Gold was sent to Moscow because Largo Caballero thought that Stalin would "keep sure" the spanish treasure.
Then, and now, there is still some poor communist who sais that the gold sent to them was "they payment to the soviet union by their services and help to the spanish republic". They only deceive themselves... Soviet Union didnt helped Spain at all... only some ship of food to the Barcelona Port... some tanks, some guns... and little more. So this gold was stolen.

Nowadays... there are many jokes with that "Gold of Moscow" in Spain, but the reality is that is a serious theme. Moscow have nice Metro Stations... surely we paid them with our money...

jpmuikku
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Post by jpmuikku » 04 Feb 2005 13:25

Malarkey wrote:Soviet Union didnt helped Spain at all... only some ship of food to the Barcelona Port... some tanks, some guns... and little more. So this gold was stolen.


Can anyone find any exact information about what weapon systems and in what quantatity were delivered?
As far I can remember, Soviet Union sold at least
- Mosin-Nagant rifles
- T-26 tanks
- 107mm M10 guns
. 122mm M09/M10 & mod howitzers
- I-15/-153/-16 fighters
- SB-2 bombers
But in what numbers...?

regards, / J-P

jpmuikku
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Post by jpmuikku » 04 Feb 2005 13:34

Replying my own question 8)
http://www.sbhac.net/Republica/Fuerzas/ ... Tabart.htm
Has most of the info what I was looking for.

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Landser
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Post by Landser » 23 Mar 2005 00:34

Scout wrote this about Stalin's motivation:
by showing them the soviet reliability as a force that were willing to fight for democracy against fascism.


Are you one of the last commies who still digs this propaganda crap???

Stalin only wanted have a major foothold on the continent for his bloody communist world takeover.
It's a pitty the Spaniards liked to trust him and showered him with everything they had.

I was wondering with the Mexico connection and all those former Soviet commies living in exil,did'n
Trotzky (Stalin's foe) organize or helped at least,collect some of the gold.

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