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Holocaust office closes its doors

Funds have been distributed to jews, political prisoners and gypsy groups. Fond's final report

The Office for the Victims of the Holocaust has closed its doors after a five-year run during which it distributed money to 300,000 people.

This content was published on July 31, 2002 - 18:17

The Office was originally set up by the government in 1997 as the debate over Switzerland's role during the Nazi era gathered momentum. It was set up to give out token sums to survivors of the Holocaust.

During its five years, the Office distributed around SFr300 million to over 305,000 survivors of the Nazi era, each of whom received between SFr600 and SFr2,000. Most recipients were aged between 73 and 83.

Over 80 per cent of the Office's payouts were given to 250,000 Jewish survivors, with the rest going to other persecuted groups - including political prisoners and gypsies.

Budget

The budget came from the Swiss National Bank and other banks, businesses and private contributions. Another SFr5 million came from the interests accrued from foreign accounts held in partner organisations.

The Office's president was the head of the Swiss Israeli Association, Rolf Bloch.

Meanwhile, many Nazi-era victims who held Swiss bank accounts are still awaiting payouts from a $1.25 billion settlement agreed between Jewish organisations and Swiss banks, Credit Suisse and UBS.

Both banks handed over the money more than two years ago, but the claims are still being processed.

swissinfo with agencies

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