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Swiss banks publish dormant WWII-era accounts


$15 million more found that may belong to Nazi victims

July 23, 1997
Web posted at: 8:14 a.m. EDT (1214 GMT)

ZURICH, Switzerland (CNN) -- Hoping to shed light on what happened to missing assets of Holocaust victims and help heirs recover what's due them, Swiss banks on Wednesday broke with their long-standing tradition of secrecy and published -- in newspapers and on the Internet -- the names of about 2,000 holders of World War II-era accounts left dormant.

The list of dormant accounts begins with R. Joh. Aalberts of London and ends with Dr. Karl G. Zwick of Cincinnati. A separate list, containing Swiss and other names discovered later, is to be released in October.

Swiss banks dormant accounts site:

Both the Web site ( and ads being published by the Swiss Bankers Association in newspapers around the world list people who have power of attorney over the accounts and give instructions on how to file claims for the money.

Voicing his opinion on Swiss Bank procedure -- Claimant Miklos Hammer speaks to CNN
icon 265 K/20 sec. AIFF or WAV sound

An independent international panel has been set up to review claims. Unclaimed accounts could be earmarked for charity.

Switzerland has been under mounting pressure for more than two years for a full accounting of its wartime dealings with the Nazis, and assets of Jews killed during that era.

Additional $15 million found

Meanwhile, Swiss banks said they had uncovered an additional 21 million Swiss francs (U.S. $15 million) that might belong to Jewish victims of the Nazis and their heirs.

That brings to 60 million francs (U.S. $43 million) the total assets for which the banks have lost contact with the owners since 1985.

But the banks have already said that a sizable portion of those accounts were opened since World War II and have nothing to do with the Holocaust.

The Swiss Bankers Association said it had raised the amount of unclaimed accounts mainly on the basis of a review by the Swiss Bank Corp., which added $11 million to the amount it originally had reported in 1995.

More unclaimed accounts may yet be found, George F. Krayer, president of the bankers association, said at a news conference.

Some Jewish organizations claim that up to $7 billion in assets and accrued interest remain hidden in Swiss banks.

Until Wednesday, the banks had maintained the true figure was less than $30 million.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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