An investigation of the World War II records of Swiss
banks led by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul A. Volcker, found
54,000 unclaimed accounts that may have belonged to Holocaust victims. "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," according to the panels
The investigators, appointed by Swiss bankers and
international Jewish organizations, were unable to determine the exact
value of the Holocaust accounts in Swiss banks, but they said their
findings shouldnt affect the agreement reached last year by
Switzerland's two biggest banks to pay $1.25 billion in a U.S. class-action
settlement. That accord is supposed to cover the claims of victims and
their heirs and leave funds for other claimants.
The panel also said it had found 1,622 accounts that
might have belonged to top-ranking Nazis or their collaborators. No names
While the report found "no evidence of systematic
destruction of records of victim accounts, organized discrimination against
the accounts of victims of Nazi persecution or concerted efforts to divert
the funds of victims of Nazi persecution to improper purposes,"
auditors did confirm "evidence of questionable and deceitful actions
by some individual banks in the handling of accounts of victims, including
withholding of information from Holocaust victims or their heirs about
their accounts." More specifically, the investigators found cases of
"inappropriate closing of accounts, failure to keep adequate records,
many cases of insensitivity to the efforts of victims or heirs of victims
to claim dormant or closed accounts."
In 1997, Swiss banks published 5,559 names on missing
account holders who lived outside Switzerland. Those accounts are worth
$44.2 million. The panel recommended the publication of 25,000 more names
on accounts so that relatives can file claims.
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information on Holocaust assets and reparations.