NEW YORK (Jun. 23)
The Swiss Consulate here announced this weekend that beginning September 1, a government commission in Switzerland will start a search in banks and insurance companies with a view to establish the assets there of Jews and others who perished under the Nazi regime.
It is estimated that there may be $500, 000, 000 worth of funds, securities, Jewels and other valuables deposited in Swiss banks by persons persecuted by the Nazis and of whom no trace could be found after the war. The Swiss Government said last fall it would initiate action to distribute such assets to the proper heirs.
The announcement of the Swiss Consulate said that relatives will have to wait until March 1964 before submitting their claims. It will take six months for the commission to sort out unclaimed accounts of aliens or stateless persons of whom no news has been received since May 9, 1945 and who are known or presumed to have been killed by the Nazis, the Consulate announced.
The Consulate said that it has been flooded with inquiries from persons in New York and other cities in the United States who think they may be beneficiaries of assets left in Swiss banks by members of their annihilated families. Some of them say they know definitely that their relatives deposited money or valuables in Swiss banks, but do not know in which banks and how much. A special committee to help the claimants has been functioning in the Brooklyn Jewish Community Council.
A Swiss Federal Decree last fall made it possible to relax the banking privacy in Switzerland temporarily to help establish the hidden accounts of Nazi victims. The decree stated that the ascertained assets “will devolve upon the legal owners or to those who have a legal right thereto. ” In situations where no person can be found as legal claimant, the decree said, the valuables will be placed in a special fund whose use will be governed by “taking into account the origin of such assets. “