Britain 'Holds on to Holocaust Millions'; A 30-YEAR FIGHT FOR MY FATHER'S SAVINGS
Byline: JASON BURT;MICHAEL HARVEY
BRITISH banks were accused yesterday of holding an estimated [pounds sterling]700million belonging to Holocaust victims and their families.
Researchers also claimed the Government did not return other assets belonging to Jews persecuted by the Nazis which it confiscated during World War II.
Instead, some of the money was paid to British companies as compensation for trading losses suffered because of the war.
The charges were made by the Holocaust Educational Trust, which called on the Government and banks to publish lists of all victims' accounts and to return the money, with interest,
to their heirs.
The value of dormant accounts in British banks could total [pounds sterling]35mil-lion at 1945 prices - [pounds sterling]700million today - according to the trust's report.
The Department of Trade and Industry and the Foreign Office said in a joint statement that the claims were being taken 'very seriously' and promised to publish a report of its own as soon as possible.
Trust spokesman Stephen Ward said that, given the weight of evidence: 'I don't think there is any excuse to wait very long'.
Chairman Lord Janner said: 'There is still time to make amends.
All we ask is truth and justice.' Britain ranked with the U.S. and Switzerland as one of the three biggest safe havens for Jewish money in the Thirties.
According to the trust, the Government used emergency powers during World War II to freeze investments by residents of enemy countries, including victims of the Nazis. The Government kept records of the 200,000 bank accounts.
After the war, the money was unfrozen. But account holders from Germany, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria could receive their money back only by providing evidence that they were victims of the Nazis. …