Distribution plan unveiled for Holocaust survivors

Proposals have been announced to distribute money to Holocaust victims and their heirs from the final settlement reached between Switzerland's two biggest banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, and Jewish organisations.

This content was published on September 12, 2000 - 12:00

The proposals were put forward on Monday by Judah Gribetz, an associate of the United States district judge who approved the settlement, Edward Korman.

Gribetz said $800 million of the total of $1.25 billion (SFr2 billion) would be distributed among people known to have had bank accounts in Switzerland.

This will cover 26,000 accounts confirmed as being from the Holocaust era, as well as another 20,000 believed to be from that period. The account details were uncovered by a commission headed by the former US Federal Reserve chairman, Paul Volcker.

Gribetz said others who should benefit from the settlement were former slave labourers, who were employed by subsidiaries of Swiss firms in Germany, and refugees turned away at Switzerland's borders during the Seond World War.

Under the proposed disbursement plan, many of these people will receive payment in the form of food and medicine.

Those eligible have until November 6 to register their claims. On November 20, Judge Korman is due to finalise the distribution plan.

It is not known whether money will go to the Jewish organisations, which were at the forefront of the struggle for a settlement with the Swiss banks.

Gribetz's announcement coincided with a gala dinner, organised by the World Jewish Congress in New York, to honour people who had fought for the rights of Holocaust victims.

Among those present were President Clinton and his wife, Hillary. Switzerland was not represented at the dinner - the foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, said no member of the government had been invited.

The WJC used the occasion to announce the establishment of a foundation to support Holocaust victims.

swissinfo

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