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New Book Accuses Swiss Bureaucracy of Denying Asylum to Thousands During War

A book just published here accuses Switzerland’s Government bureaucracy of denying refuge to thousands of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany before and during World War II in defiance of the wishes of the Swiss Parliament and people. The book, “The Lifeboat is Full,” was written by Alfred A. Hasler, a Swiss, and published by Funk Wagnalls.

The author said he gathered his material from speeches, articles, editorials, letters and personal narratives which, he claims, show that thousands of Jews suffered and died because of “deeply entrenched but previously unrecognized forces of prejudice and self-interest” in a country that otherwise gave asylum to almost 300,000 refugees of all races and nationalities.

According to the author, Swiss officials began in 1933. when Hitler became Chancellor of the Reich, to prepare for the invasion of this “un-Christian, foreign-thinking element.” meaning the Jews. Mr. Hasler wrote that Dr. Heinrich Rothmund, chief of the Swiss police, declared that since Switzerland was already heavily populated by foreigners and had a serious unemployment problem, it could only serve as a transit country for Jews. “As arrests and murders of Jews spread in Germany, the Swiss Government began tightening border controls on fugitives, imprisoning others in labor camps, and finally, in 1942 turning back all civilian refugees.” the book alleges.

The author said that the final order prompted fierce opposition from the Swiss population and the press which arose too late. Mr. Hasler estimated that the Swiss Government knowingly returned to Germany 26,000 Jewish men, women and children who had fled.

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