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Second World War refugee helpers pardoned

Fifteen people who between 1938 and 1945 helped refugees illegally enter or leave Switzerland have been pardoned.

The sentences against the six women and nine men had been lifted, announced the parliamentary rehabilitation committee on Tuesday.

Pierre Amiel and Claude Schropff, two Frenchmen who worked for the Cimade refugee organisation, received the harshest punishments. They were arrested in June 1944 and spent two months in prison for helping a woman, who had fled a French concentration camp, enter Switzerland.

Also rehabilitated were: from Switzerland Rosa Wüst, Martha Bloch, Gustave Michon, Emil Graf, Walter Mollenkopf, Hanny Meury, Maria Rohrer, Paul Uehlinger and Martha Uehlinger; from Germany Amalie Kuttler and Victor Rebholz; from France Roger Choirat, and from Poland Herz-Henri Dratwa.

In accordance with a 2004 law, anyone who broke the law during the Nazi era for humanitarian reasons can be pardoned. The rehabilitation committee is responsible for checking individual cases.

Cimade is a French non-governmental organisation founded at the beginning of the Second World War by French student groups to give assistance to and support people uprooted by war. Many of the refugees it helped were Jewish.

Cimade continues its work today, especially with undocumented immigrants in France.

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