ZURICH (Aug. 18)
The wife of a former Swiss bank guard who made headlines earlier this year when he rescued Holocaust-era documents from the shredder returned to her home near here this week to collect her belongings.
Giuseppina Meili’s return to Switzerland was anything but a happy homecoming, according to New York attorney Edward Fagan, who represents the Meili family and who accompanied her on the trip.
On the flight to Switzerland, “some Swiss passengers refused to sit next to her,” Fagan said in an interview. “They treated her like a traitor.”
Meili, 26, made the trip to bring the family belongings to the United States, which the family now calls home.
Her husband, Christoph, 29, did not accompany her.
President Clinton last month signed into law a bill unanimously adopted by both houses of Congress granting permanent U.S. residency status to Christoph Meili, his wife and their two children, Miriam, 4, and David, 2.
Meili was making his rounds as a night watchman at the Union Bank of Switzerland in January when he discovered the documents headed for the paper shredder.
He secretly turned over some of them to a Jewish organization in Zurich — a move that created a storm of controversy in Switzerland, cost Meili his job and forced him to flee the country because of threats on his life.
The relevance of the files Meili discovered will ultimately be determined by the Bergier Commission — a panel of international historians examining the Swiss role during World War II.