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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…

  • 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…

  • Swiss government to manage bank-financed Holocaust fund

    BERN, Feb. 12 (JTA) — Swiss Jewish leaders are giving a mixed response to their government’s decision to formally establish a fund to compensate Holocaust victims and their families. The Federation of Jewish Communities in Switzerland, the communal umbrella group, welcomed what it described as the “quick” decision of the Swiss government to establish the…

  • Swiss bank official attempts to explain anti-Semitic remark

    ZURICH, May 21 (JTA) — The honorary chairman of the Union Bank of Switzerland is trying to backtrack on anti-Semitic comments he made to an American magazine. In an interview with The New Yorker magazine in April, Robert Holzach said, “The banking scandal is really a war. This had to do with a Jewish conspiracy…

  • Fate of Holocaust memorial fund now lies with Swiss government

    BERN, Feb. 25 (JTA) — The fate of a Swiss Holocaust memorial fund now lies in the hands of the Swiss government. Lengthy meetings early this week here between Swiss and Jewish officials produced an agreement about how to administer the fund, recently established by Switzerland’s three main banks. The Swiss Federal Council was scheduled…

  • Surge in Swiss anti-Semitism linked to compensation effort

    ZURICH, Feb. 13 (JTA) — Swiss Jews are confronting a mounting wave of anti-Semitism in the wake of international pressure on Switzerland to compensate Holocaust victims and their heirs for funds deposited in Swiss banks during the World War II era. At the same time, however, Swiss Jews have found support from a largely sympathetic…