Bert Linder; Holocaust Survivor Battled Swiss Banks
Bert Linder, 86, Rancho Mirage survivor of the Holocaust who fought to force Swiss banks to return gold seized by the Nazis. A native of Austria who survived Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, Linder immigrated to Los Angeles in 1951 and established Bert Linder Real Estate. He moved to the desert after retirement, relishing the quietude as solace for continuing nightmares about Nazi atrocities. Linder became a highly publicized hero in Europe last year when he filed claims against eight Swiss banks demanding that any accounts containing Holocaust victims’ money that had been seized by the Nazis be distributed to the survivors. And the assets owed, he said, were not limited to money but included gold wedding rings and the gold fillings wrenched from the teeth of death camp prisoners. Linder lectured widely, wrote a book titled “Condemned Without Judgment” and earned the Austrian Cross of Honor for service to the Austrian government. At home, he was president of the Holocaust Survivors of the Desert. On Monday in Graz, Austria, of a heart attack after a speech promoting the German translation of his book.