The Holocaust-Era Assets Debate and Beyond

A Swiss Perspective
  • Thomas Borer-Fielding
  • Hanspeter Mock


Towards the end of 1996, a heated discussion began on Switzerland’s role during the Second World War.1 Admittedly, at the beginning, the Swiss did not take this criticism seriously enough.2 Why did Switzerland underestimate the problem? It is probably fair to say that for us — as for many throughout the world — the tragedy of the Holocaust was history, was bygone. As to the financial issues, we considered that our ancestors had dealt with them after the war. Today, some of us may find comfort in the fact that other countries — some of which are much more concerned by the issue than Switzerland -have similarly underestimated the problem, in spite of the Swiss precedent.


Settlement Agreement Unfinished Business Historical Commission Swiss Bank Swiss Government 
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  1. 1.
    J. Rossier, ‘Switzerland, Gold and the Banks: Analysis of a Crisis’, Speech at the Harvard Faculty Club, 26 May 1999.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    H.J. Bär, ‘Switzerland revisited — a case of managerial incompetence?’, Remarks on the occasion of the 1998 Global Forum on Management Education, Chicago, 13 June 1998.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Independent Committee of Eminent Persons (ICEP): ‘Report on Dormant Accounts of Victims of Nazi Persecution in Swiss Banks’, December 1999.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    See Nazi Gold, The London Conference (London: Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 1998) and J.-D. Bindenagel (ed.), Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets, Proceeding, (Washington, D.C.: US Department of State, 1999).Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    On these questions see D. Vagts, J. Drolshammer and P.J. Murray, ‘Mit prozessieren den Holocaust bewältigen? Die Rolle des Zivilrechts und Zivilprozesses beim Versuch der Wiedergutmachung internationaler Katastrophen’ in Zeitschrift für Schweizerisches Recht (ZSR), 1999, p.511ffGoogle Scholar
  6. 10.
    J.H. Huston, The Sister Republics — Switzerland and the United States from 1776 to the Present (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1991).Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    For a recent review in English of Switzerland’s situation during the war years see S.P. Halbrook, Target Switzerland — Swiss Armed Neutrality in World War II, Rockville Centre, NY: Sarpedon, 1998).Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    A. Foxman, ‘The Dangers of Holocaust Restitution’, Wall Street Journal, 4 December 1998. For a radical critique, see N. Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry — an Essay on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering (New York: Verso, 2000).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Borer-Fielding
  • Hanspeter Mock

There are no affiliations available

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