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How the Holocaust-Swiss banks deal was brokered

Swissinfo: “It has been 20 years since Swiss banks agreed to compensate Holocaust victims for assets lost during the Second World War. A documentary takes a look at the dormant Swiss bank account scandal.  The conflict over Jewish assets in Swiss bank accounts culminated in the 1990s in what would become Switzerland’s largest foreign policy crisis since the Second World War.

The following report and embedded videos are from a Swiss documentary, The Meili Story external link.

Everything started with Greta Beer. She is 97 today and lives in Boston. Her father was a wealthy textile manufacturer in Germany before the Second World War with bank accounts in Switzerland. After the war, Beer and her mother’s search for their father’s money in Swiss banks was in vain.  Her case became public in the 1990s and eventually led Republican Senator Alfonse D’Amato, Chairman of the Banking Commission, to invite her to a hearing in Washington. The Swiss government underestimated the brewing storm on the other side of the Atlantic. It was up to the then Interior Minister Ruth Dreifuss, who is Jewish, to inform her cabinet colleagues of Switzerland’s actions during the Second World War..

…The report states that the Swiss National Bank was the recipient of large amounts of Nazi plunder from countries Germany had occupied, including gold from the teeth of concentration camp prisoners. The thesis was put forward that through such purchases Switzerland helped prolong the war. Switzerland had to come to terms with its past. The debate about the country’s wartime role was a central feature defining its identity: neutrality…” [h/t to the indefatigable Jacqueline Royce. Through Dr. Royce I met and learned about Greta Beer’s remarkable history, and am now grateful to see this inexorably and long overdue report and video. Greta Beer is a remarkable woman of courage, perspective and persistence. Her pursuit of justice has given voice to those who have long ago passed away – may their memory be a blessing.]

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