Germany counts gold to calm conspiracists

The Bundesbank (Federal Bank) has released a detailed list of all the gold Germany owns, hoping to settle fears it has been exaggerating its wealth.

Germany counts gold to calm conspiracists
Gold bars at the Bundesbank. Photo: DPA

The Bundesbank's catalogue stretches to 2,300 pages, listing every bar of gold Germany owns, where it is, how much it weighs and how much of that weight is gold.

It shows that Germany owns 270,316 bars of gold stored in four countries – giving it the second -highest gold reserves in the world behind the USA.

But the majority of that wealth is not stored in Germany, with the biggest stock housed in New York while other reserves lie in Paris and London.

The largest gold reserves in the world are in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where many countries house their gold.

As Germany built up its reserves in the 1950s and 1960s other countries traded their New York based gold stocks to the Bundesrepublik (Federal Republic), which chose to leave them where they were.

Carl-Ludwig Thiele, an executive at the Bundesbank, explains in a video on their website that during the Cold War when Germany was a possible battle ground in a 'hot' war it made sense to keep its reserves as far west as possible.

Now though the Bundesbank plans to relocate its Paris reserves to Frankfurt.

By 2020, Germany should have no gold left in the French capital.

Jens Weisman, head of the Bundesbank, says that the French reserves no longer serve a purpose due to changes in the international security situation and the fact that both countries have the Euro – meaning that the gold can't be traded against a foreign currency.

Once the relocation of the gold is completed 50 percent of Germany's gold will be in Frankfurt, 13 percent in London and 37 percent in New York.

But bringing the treasure home is not without its dangers.

“Every transportation is a security risk“ said Thiele. “Especially for the people transporting the gold.”

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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.