When Swiss banks settled with Holocaust survivors

The dispute over Jewish assets in dormant Swiss bank accounts in the 1990s turned into Switzerland’s biggest foreign policy crisis since the Second World War. On August 12, 1998, a billion-dollar settlement was reached. swissinfo.ch’s archives reveal how the news was covered exactly 20 years ago.  When Jewish organisations raised questions in the mid-1990s about dormant Swiss bank accounts containing the assets of Holocaust victims, nobody could predict the storm that was about to follow. The pressure increased when the United States administration joined the debate. Two investigations, one commissioned by the Swiss government, uncovered evidence of Jewish refugees being turned away at the Swiss border, Swiss companies profiting from the Nazi war machine and the central bank buying gold looted from Jews. The final straw came in the shape of individual class actions launched in the US, claiming damages against Swiss banks.  Faced with allegations and threats of boycotts against ...
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