Menu JTA Search

Goldmann Sees Swiss President, Justice Minister, on Unclaimed Jewish Assets

Details of proposed legislation calling for the registration of unclaimed assets left in Switzerland by persons who subsequently fell victims of the Nazi regime were discussed here yesterday by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the Jewish Agency for Israel and of the World Jewish Congress, with Friedrich Wahlen, the Federal President, and Ludwig von Moos, the head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police.

Dr. Goldmann expressed satisfaction, on behalf of the organizations he represents, at the decision of the Swiss Federal Council to submit the draft law. He expressed the hope that passage of the legislation by the Federal Assembly would be speedy and that all parties would cooperate in implementing the legislation.

The measure proposed by the Swiss Federal Council would require all Swiss banks, insurance companies, fiscal agents and other depositories to report confidentially to the Government on all unclaimed foreign assets left in their hands. The report would have to be made six months after enactment of the law. The registration of these assets would be the first step toward recovering funds left in Switzerland before and early in World War II by European Jews for safekeeping so that they could be put at the disposal of a fund to aid racial and religious victims of nazism.

The depositories would have to report confidentially to the Government the assets they held for which the original depositors or their heirs failed to make claim since 1945. The Government alone would see these reports and it would be up to the Government to determine which reported unclaimed assets properly belonged to the fund for Nazi victims.

Dr. Goldmann noted that a precedent for this action existed in Swiss law. He referred to legislation adopted in 1946 ordering the filing of confidential reports on the financial holdings in Switzerland of all German and Austrian nationals. That move enabled the identification of assets of Nazi war. criminals and their consequent recovery.

NEXT STORY