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  • Independent panel to handle claims on Swiss bank accounts

    JERUSALEM, June 8 (JTA) — Jewish groups and Swiss banks have taken a significant step toward returning the assets from unclaimed accounts that were opened by Jews fleeing Nazi persecution. The World Jewish Restitution Organization and the Swiss Bankers Association agreed to set up an independent panel to handle requests from Holocaust survivors or their…

  • Extremist Swiss legislator denounces Holocaust fund

    ZURICH, March 3 (JTA) — In a speech laced with anti-Semitic references, a right-wing member of the Swiss Parliament has lashed out against his country’s decision to endorse a memorial fund for needy Holocaust survivors. Addressing a rally here Saturday, Christoph Blocher also said that Switzerland had no reason to apologize for doing business with…

  • Swiss officials seek to end D’Amato’s critical statements

    ZURICH, March 3 (JTA) — A two-sentence statement issued by U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R-N.Y.) regarding Switzerland’s wartime role has elicited sharp condemnations from Swiss government officials. “The world has already rendered its verdict: The Swiss were guilty. We’re now debating the penalty, and the penalty should fit the crime,” the chairman of the Senate…

  • $5 billion Swiss proposal hailed, but legal obstacles stand in way

    ZURICH, March 5 (JTA) — Jews around the world are applauding a surprise Swiss proposal for a $5 billion humanitarian fund, but it is far from certain if and when the moneys would be distributed. In a stunning announcement Wednesday before the Swiss Parliament, President Arnold Koller proposed that his country devote $5 billion from…

  • Swiss, Jewish groups end fight over makeup of Holocaust fund

    ZURICH, May 5 (JTA) — After weeks of wrangling between the Swiss government and Jewish groups, the two sides have reached agreement on the composition of an executive board that will oversee the distribution of millions of dollars to needy Holocaust survivors. The Swiss government last week appointed Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel to serve as…

  • U.S. report provokes debate among Swiss on wartime role

    ZURICH, May 11 (JTA) — A debate has erupted in Switzerland in the wake of a U.S. report that harshly criticized the country’s wartime dealings with the Nazis. The 200-page report, released May 7 in Washington by U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce Stuart Eizenstat, included charges that Swiss purchases of Nazi-looted gold helped prolong the Third…

  • Swiss party launches campaign against efforts to aid survivors

    ZURICH, May 5 (JTA) — Switzerland’s Jewish community is reacting with alarm to a new campaign launched by the Popular Party aimed at undermining public support for two Swiss funds created to help needy Holocaust survivors. “Blackmail is disgusting and ugly,” reads one poster that was posted at key intersections here by the right-wing party,…

  • Israel refutes U.N. charges of using torture on prisoners

    GENEVA, May 12 (JTA) — Israel is rejecting the conclusions of a United Nations committee that it uses torture against suspected terrorists. The Geneva-based U.N. Committee against Torture last Friday called on Israel to “cease immediately” the use of such techniques as sleep deprivation and violent shaking, saying this constituted torture and broke international law….

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Switzerland may backtrack on compensating survivors

    ZURICH, May 18 (JTA) — None of the funds from a $5 billion humanitarian foundation should go to needy Holocaust survivors, according to a spokesman for the Swiss Finance Ministry. The spokesman”s comment last Friday, which threw into doubt what may have been a source of significant financial support for survivors, came a day after…

  • Switzerland prepares to host Zionism centennial festivities

    BASEL, April 6 (JTA) — This northwestern Swiss city at the border of France and Germany is busy preparing to host celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of a landmark event in the history of the creation of the Jewish state. On Aug. 29-31, 1897, the first session of the Zionist Congress was held here to…