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Swiss fund to help Christians and Moslems who saved Jews

The Swiss Holocaust Fund is to provide financial support for Christians and Moslems who helped save Jewish lives during the Holocaust. The fund, set up by Swiss banks in 1997, will donate $2 million to help needy rescuers.

It will hand over the money to the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR), which will manage and distribute the funds. All the beneficiaries are in eastern Europe. A formal announcement will be made on Tuesday in New York, where the JFR is based.

One of the beneficiaries, Zofia Berczynska, 78, from Czestochowa in Poland will attend the news conference together with Ilona Mudweid, 63, the woman she saved during the Second World War.

The JFR was founded in 1986 and currently provides financial support to more than 1,700 rescuers in 30 countries. The $2 million grant is the largest ever made to the JFR to support rescuers.

The Swiss Holocaust Fund was set up with SFr100 million from Swiss banks, to which the National Bank added another SFr100 million and the Swiss business community SFr65 million. Over the past three years, the funds have been distributed to needy victims of the Holocaust, mainly in eastern Europe and Israel.

Fund officials said in April that 99 per cent of the money had been distributed.

swissinfo with agencies

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