There were no death certificates issued at Auschwitz. But Swiss bankers still demand them before handing over the assets of account holders killed in the Holocaust to their surviving relatives.

The Jews of Europe entrusted their families' wealth to what they hoped would be a safe haven, the banks of Switzerland. Even if they died, their money would eventually be recovered, they believed. They were wrong. Millions of dollars, deposited decades ago in good faith by Jews who were to die in the Nazi genocide, still lie in the vaults, earning interest and providing working capital for Swiss banks.

But the Swiss bankers' role as financiers to the Third Reich goes far beyond the dispute over dormant accounts. Based on recently declassified documents and archival research in Washington, London and Jerusalem, Hitler's Secret Bankers reveals the full, hitherto unknown extent of Swiss economic collaboration with the Nazis. Swiss banks were the key foreign-currency providers of the Nazi war machine, they profited both from looted gold, stolen by the Nazis from the national banks of occupied countries such as Belgium and Holland, and by operating an international banking centre for the Third Reich.

Hitler's Secret Bankers reveals how Swiss banks, for all their declarations of neutrality, knowingly accepted stolen gold - estimated to be worth between $200 million and $400 million - from the Nazis, and 'washed' up to $100 million of looted gold by sending it to Portugal and Spain.

Hitler's Secret Bankers also reveals how Swiss bankers' trade with the Nazis was but one part of a wider government policy of accommodation with the Third Reich that returned to the Gestapo and the SS tens of thousands of fleeing Jews who had made it across the Swiss border, how the Basel-based Bank for International Settlements and its American president, Thomas McKittrick, continued trading on behalf of the Reich throughout the Second World War and accepted Nazi gold, and how American intelligence believed that the Swiss-based International Red Cross had been infiltrated by Nazi agents, along with the details of a secret Nazi plan to launch an underground economic Fourth Reich at the war's end.