February 19, 1997
The National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC) welcomes the establishment of a Humanitarian Fund for Holocaust Victims by Switzerland’s three largest banks. Their action represents a hopeful sign of Swiss determination to resolve fully and fairly the matter of missing Jewish assets deposited in Swiss banks before and during World War II.
A full page advertisement in the Swiss press is recent testimony to the wish of many Swiss citizens that their nation move firmly in that direction. The ad, a petition by more than 100 Swiss academics and artists demanding that Switzerland and its people acknowledge their moral obligations toward Jewish groups, reportedly generated an outpouring of support from the Swiss people. At the same time, the emergence of anti-Semitic attitudes in some quarters requires the country’s leaders to address the issue of public attitudes toward Jews, the Holocaust and the past in a serious way, including education which raises issues concerning the moral dilemmas facing Switzerland during and after the war.
Two commissions established by the Swiss government to investigate Switzerland’s wartime dealings can illuminate that process. We believe establishment of these commissions further reflects Swiss recognition of a moral obligation to uncover the truth, especially in light of the advanced age of the Holocaust Survivor population. The organized Jewish community will continue to call for a full and honest accounting concerning unclaimed funds and for adherence by all to the highest ethical standards in advancing a just and moral resolution that will serve the interests of all parties involved, as well as for the Swiss government to make clear, unequivocal and forceful statements to the Swiss citizenry condemning any expressions of anti-Semitism in Switzerland.