BERNE (Sep. 26)
The National Council, one of the two houses of the Swiss Parliament, adopted today a bill providing for the release to surviving heirs of funds deposited in Swiss banks by Nazi victims, most of them Jews later annihilated by the Nazis.
The accounts, comprising properties estimated to total up to $500,000,000, and publicly identified only by numbers, have been dormant since the end of the Second World War. Numbered accounts, many of which were opened to keep the properties from being confiscated by the Nazi regime, have never been identified publicly by name under the secrecy law for Swiss banks passed in 1937.
The bill provides for the distribution of the funds and properties, which include securities, insurance policies and deeds, to the surviving dependents of representatives of the Nazi victims. Any sums still remaining unclaimed, according to the bill, “shall be vested in a philanthropic fund.” Only four of the 196 members of the National Council opposed the bill, arguing that secrecy of the Swiss banks should in way be affected.