Panel Finds 54,000 Possible Holocaust Accounts in Swiss Banks

From Associated Press

The search for Holocaust victims’ assets in Swiss banks found 54,000 possible accounts never before disclosed. But investigators concluded that last year’s $1.25-billion settlement between banks and Jewish organizations remains enough to pay all heirs, the chairman of the investigating commission said Monday.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul A. Volcker, who headed the three-year inquiry, said too few records were available to figure the total value of the accounts.

Still, he said, anybody who can substantiate a claim should receive some payment, even if it is unknown how much money was in the account.


The commission cleared the banks of “systematic destruction of records of victims’ accounts,” but it said there was evidence of “deceitful actions by some individual banks,” including the withholding of information from Holocaust victims or their heirs about their accounts.

“The handling of these funds was too often grossly insensitive to the special conditions of the Holocaust and sometimes misleading in intent and unfair in result,” said the final report of the panel, which was appointed by Swiss bankers and international Jewish organizations.

The head of the Swiss Bankers Assn., which helped finance the $500-million investigation, said he regretted his own and the bankers’ previous insensitivity to claimants.

Still, said Georg F. Krayer, association chairman, “with the exception of a few isolated cases, the banks’ conduct during the period in question was correct.”

In Jerusalem, Noah Flug, a survivor of the Auschwitz death camp and general secretary of the World Jewish Restitution Organization, said he was “very satisfied with the report because, first of all, it says that the claims of the survivors and heirs were correct.”