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Swiss Bank Fund for Holocaust Victims


Reply-To: H-NET List for History of the Holocaust <H-HOLOCAUST@H-NET.MSU.EDU>
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From: Norman Finkelstein

July 4, 1999

Can someone identify AMCHA in this posting [below]? What does it stand for? Also, I cannot understand the figure given for "living Holocaust survivors." The usual figure given for Jewish survivors of the Holocaust right after World War II hovers around 250,000 (of which 50,000 were camp survivors). Granted it's a rough estimate, yet how can there be FOUR TIMES AS MANY SURVIVORS FIFTY YEARS LATER?

Norman Finkelstein

From: Gabor Hirsch

There is a report in the International Herald Tribune June 30, 1999 about a world wide campaign to alert claimants to the possibility of compensation from a $1.2 billion Swiss bank fund set up in summer 1998. Quoting Edgar Bronfman of the World Jewish Congress: 'We must reach Holocaust Survivors and other potential beneficiaries as quickly as possible'. All victims of Nazi persecution are potential claimants; Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals and physically or mentally disabled. Individuals can apply even if their relatives never had a Swiss Bank account.

Reading this lines it sounds very promising that every victim of the Holocaust are [sic] potential beneficiaries of the Swiss bank fund but as always, there is [sic] also some drawbacks and restrictions.

It sounded beautifully when in an interview "Sie alle wollen das Geld (All of them wants the money)" in the "Weltwoche" (Swiss weekly newspaper) September 24, 1998 Elan Steinberg said about the Swiss Bank Fund,

The first part goes to the survivors, who have provable claim of the Swiss accounts, a second part of the money should be equally divided between all Holocaust-Survivors also to the ones who didn't claim and the third part goes in a fund jointly managed by the Jewish organizations as well as the State Israel.

A few weeks later "Wie weiter nach dem Brooklyner-Deal"; Jüdischer Rundschau (Swiss weekly newspaper) October 2, 1998 Elan Steinberg said about the 2. [second] part, that this will not be a humanitarian gesture but a restitution even if only may be $ 2000.-- pro person. but without the need of proof that being needy.

In a H-NET mail on Wed, 13 Aug. 1997 about "Number of living Holocaust survivors" Adina Mishkoff Administrative Asst/AMCHA, Jerusalem, gave an estimate of total 834,000 - 960,000 living Holocaust survivors.

This information as well as the article from the Herald Tribune June 30, 1999 raises the hope of many survivors that at least after 54 years they are going to get some compensation/recognition for the past suffering. If you read the information in the http://www.swissbankclaims.com/ you find some restriction and this is if you have a Holocaust-related claims against Swiss banks and other entities. The following is a short extract of text, but I recommend to read the complete text.

Who is Affected by the Settlement?

You are affected by the Settlement if you fit into one of the following five Settlement Classes. Four classes consist of "Victims or Targets of Nazi Persecution" defined as any individual, business or group persecuted or targeted for persecution by the Nazi Regime or its agents, because they are or were believed to be Jewish, Romani, Jehovah's Witness, Homosexual or Physically or Mentally Disabled or Handicapped and who:

Had assets (including such things as bank accounts, securities and safe deposit box contents), on deposit in any Swiss bank, investment fund, or other custodian prior to May 9, 1945 (Deposited Assets Class), OR

May have claims against private Swiss Entities relating to assets that were looted or taken by the Nazi Regime, or relating to "Cloaked Assets", which are assets disguised by a Swiss Entity for the benefit of an Axis company, entity or person associated with the Nazi Regime, between 1933 and 1946 (Looted Assets Class), OR

Performed slave labor for companies or other entities that may have deposited the revenues or proceeds of that labor with or transacted such revenue and proceeds through Swiss Entities (Slave Labor Class I), OR

Unsuccessfully sought entry into Switzerland to avoid Nazi persecution, or after gaining entry were deported or mistreated, and may have related claims against any Swiss Entity (Refugee Class).

The fifth Settlement Class consists of all persons, whether or not a Victim or Target of Nazi persecution as previously defined, who were forced to perform slave labor in any facility or work site, wherever located, that was owned, controlled or operated by any Swiss company or other entity (Slave Labor Class II).

All five of these Settlement Classes include heirs, successors, administrators, executors, affiliates and assigns of the persons or entities described above.

In my opinion with this restrictions there will be only a very few who can claim successfully for this restitution.

Best regards
Gabor Hirsch



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Other items on Finkelstein: [1] [2]

David Irving comments:

Yes, the discrepancy in the present survivor figures had also caught our attention. Somebody clearly gooo,ooofed. See also the item on 1950s survivor figures.

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