The Last Deposit: Swiss Banks and Holocaust Victims' Accounts

The Last Deposit: Swiss Banks and Holocaust Victims' Accounts

The Last Deposit: Swiss Banks and Holocaust Victims' Accounts

The Last Deposit: Swiss Banks and Holocaust Victims' Accounts


The injustices committed against millions of Europe's Jews did not end with the fall of the Third Reich. Long after the Nazis had seized the belongings of Holocaust victims, Swiss banks concealed and appropriated their assets, demanding that their survivors produce the death certificates or banking records of the depositors in order to claim their family's property--demands that were usually impossible for the petitioners to meet. Now the full account of the Holocaust deposits affair is revealed by the journalist who first broke the story in 1995. Relying on archival and contemporary sources, Itamar Levin describes the Jewish people's decades-long effort to return death camp victims' assets to their rightful heirs. Levin also uncovers the truth about the behavior of Swiss banking institutions, their complicity with the Nazis, and their formidable power over even their own "neutral" government.


After enduring the nine circles of hell and being left alive, many Holocaust survivors and the heirs of those murdered were forced to face the insensitivity and malevolence of the Swiss bankers. the Swiss bureaucrats demanded death certificates for the owners of Swiss bank accounts and refused to consider the fact that death camps like Auschwitz did not provide such documents.

The scandal of the Holocaust victims' dormant bank accounts led to a unique historical development that tested anew the connection of Swiss financial ties to the Nazis. the information revealed pertaining to Switzerland's role in financing and laundering Nazi Germany's money, and Swiss control of gold stolen both from banks and individuals--including Jews-- in occupied Europe, uncovered the darker side of the legend of Swiss neutrality.

The global press fulfilled a central role in creating international pressure on the Swiss government and banks, and in this area, Itamar Levin's pioneering and intensive work is very important. the international press understood that this issue was not simply about monetary claims, but about a struggle to do historic justice--to reveal the truth about the behavior of countries and peoples in Europe and outside that collaborated with the Nazis and stood aside during the horror of the destruction of the Jewish people.

When we founded the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) in 1993, along with a wide umbrella of Jewish organizations, with the cooperation of the government of Israel, we believed that we were adjudicating the law of history in rewriting the last chapter of the Holocaust. the fact that a series of countries, under international pressure and with the courage of a new generation, are dealing with the darker chapters of the past, proves the moral importance of the struggle.

The Nazis stripped the Jews of everything--their rights, their property, their very status as human beings. the struggle to restore Jewish property, though inadequate compensation for all that the Jews lost, is designed to . . .

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