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Swiss bank guard who saved Holocaust papers wins scholarship

November 20, 1998
Web posted at: 1:07 p.m. EST (1807 GMT)

ORANGE, California (CNN) -- Christophe Meili, the former United Bank of Switzerland guard who became famous for saving Holocaust-era documents from the paper shredder, will attend a California college on a full scholarship.

Chapman University, a private university with 3,500 students, offered Meili a tuition scholarship worth $18,000 a year, and he will enroll as a freshman starting next September, said James Doti, the school's president.

"Part of our mission is helping students to become global citizens," Doti said. "He is a model, a profile in courage, and we hope to inculcate that attitude in our students."

When Meili confiscated Berlin property records from a UBS basement in January 1997, UBS was one of three private Swiss banks under international scrutiny for withholding deposits from dormant accounts that might belong to Holocaust survivors. The banks have since resolved those claims with a $1.2 billion settlement.

Meili, 30, graduated from high school in Switzerland. He fled the country with his wife, Guiseppina, and their two children after he received death threats for his actions at UBS.

The family has been living in New Jersey, and he has been working in New York, since April 1997. He has been granted permanent residency status.

In addition to the tuition, Meili will have his living expenses covered while he is in school by a group of Holocaust survivors called The Club of 1939.

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