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Holocaust survivor sues Swiss for compensation

(AP) -- The sister of a Jewish refugee who demanded SFr100,000 ($625,000) to compensate for the death of his parents in Auschwitz, has also filed for damages, reports said Thursday.

This content was published on December 30, 1999 - 18:18

(AP) -- The sister of a Jewish refugee who demanded SFr100,000 ($625,000) to compensate for the death of his parents in Auschwitz, has also filed for damages, reports said Thursday.

It represents the third claim for damages made against the Swiss government for turning back refugees into Nazi-controlled territory during the World War II era and effectively sending many of them to their death.

Finance Ministry spokesman Daniel Eckmann confirmed media reports that the claim had been received late November but declined to give further details.

The newspaper Le Temps said it was made in the name of Sabine Sonabend. She, her brother Charles and her parents fled to neutral Switzerland from Nazi-occupied Belgium in 1942, but were arrested and deported to France. The parents later died at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

The Swiss government last February rejected the compensation claim by Charles Sonabend, now 66 and living in London. Switzerland's highest court, the Federal Court in Lausanne, has still to rule on his appeal, as well as an appeal by another refugee, Joseph Spring.

The claims are separate from the $1.25 billion class action settlement reached between the two big Swiss banks and lawyers of Holocaust survivors in 1998. This is meant to cover claims of victims and their heirs in return for them dropping any other compensation demands.

According to Le Temps newspaper, Sonabend indicated he would withdraw his claim against the Swiss government in order to be eligible for the class action payout. His 68-year-old sister would pursue the case in his place, he said.

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