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Moves for legal rehabilitation of people who helped Nazi refugees

The House of Representatives wants to clear the name of those who helped people get into Switzerland to escape Nazi persecution as well as those who fought against fascism in Europe.

The House on Thursday approved a proposal, despite opposition by the right-wing Swiss People's Party.

Proponents said it was in the interest of the country to rehabilitate people who broke Swiss law to support anti-fascists in France and Spain and those who fought anti-Semitism.

Previous efforts in parliament to rehabilitate anti-fascists and people who helped refugees during the Holocaust era ended in failure.

Last year, the government said it was up to parliament to decide on rehabilitations. Parliament refused to take action earlier this year.

In a widely publicised case, a former police chief from St Gallen, Paul Grüninger, was posthumously rehabilitated in 1995 for faking documents to save thousands of Jews from Nazi persecution.

Swiss veteran volunteers who fought with the international brigades during Spain's civil war were honoured in 1996, but not formally rehabilitated. On their return from the war, they were imprisoned and stripped of their civil rights for violating Swiss neutrality.

swissinfo with agencies

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