Jewish leader Alfred Donath dead at 78

Alfred Donath, the former president of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG), died on Monday night at the age of 78.

This content was published on June 29, 2010 - 16:45

Donath is credited with helping Holocaust victims and their heirs to recover money from Swiss banks.

Herbert Winter, the current president of the SIG, said he had collapsed and later died in hospital. The cause of death was not given.

Donath led the organisation from 2000 to 2008, a period which included the end phase of the discussion on dormant Holocaust-era accounts, deposited in Switzerland by Jews in the face of Nazi persecution.

“His work for the SIG over the past 25 years as well as his dedication to Jewish community concerns and to interfaith dialogue will not be forgotten,” the SIG said in a statement on Tuesday.

“He was characterised by his modesty, optimism, cosmopolitanism, congeniality and respect for other human beings. He will remain a role model for all of us,” wrote the SIG.

The son of a rabbi, Donath studied medicine, specialising first in pediatrics and then in nuclear medicine.

In keeping with Jewish tradition, he will probably be buried on Tuesday. Donath leaves behind a wife and five children.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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