Swiss fund announces more gifts for Holocaust victims

(AP) -- The Swiss fund for needy Holocaust survivors Friday announced gifts to 25 people forcibly sterilised by the Nazis under a 1933 German law for "racial and heritage hygiene."

This content was published on November 5, 1999 - 15:44

(AP) -- The Swiss fund for needy Holocaust survivors Friday announced gifts to 25 people forcibly sterilised by the Nazis under a 1933 German law for "racial and heritage hygiene."

The fund, which has already distributed more than SFr250 million ($167 million) to over 300,000 survivors of the Nazis, will make donations through the German Federation of the Victims of "Euthanasia" and Forced Sterilisation.

"The Law for the Prevention of Descendants with Hereditary Disease of 1933 was the first Nazi racial law with a view to large-scale extermination," a fund statement said. "Disabled people were the first victims."

They were sterilised "because they were slightly disabled or sick or because their family history gave rise to the supposition that they might have some hereditary disease," it said.

The fund said it would give each of the sterilisation victims SFr2,000 francs ($1,333).

Last April it gave SFr1,500 francs ($1,000) to six Nazi sterilisation victims living in the Czech Republic.

Only a few victims have survived. The program killed about 275,000 people and sterilised 350,000-400,000, making the disabled one of the largest non-Jewish groups of Nazi victims, the statement said.

The fund was set up by Swiss banks and industry in 1997 under pressure from allegations that they provided support to the Nazi war machine. Its board of governors includes representatives of international Jewish organisations.

Around 88 percent of the money in the fund is intended to help destitute Jewish survivors of the Nazis, while the rest is for non-Jewish survivors, including Gypsies, homosexuals, the disabled, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christians persecuted as Jews and political opponents of the Nazis.

It is separate from a $1.25 billion fund set up by Switzerland's two big banks in August last year in an out-of-court settlement with lawyers in a class-action suit in the United States.

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