Daily Israel Report

Swiss 'Rehabilitate' Those Who Aided Jews in WWII

Swiss authorities completed the process of 'rehabilitating' those punished for aiding Jews during the Nazi era - all are dead.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 12/30/2011, 12:32 PM

Pictures of Holocaust victims
Pictures of Holocaust victims
Israel news photo:: ITF

Switzerland finished the process of 'rehabilitating' more than a hundred people punished during WWII for helping Jews escape Nazi persecution on Wednesday.

But only one of the 137 people vindicated by the report actually lived to see their name cleared.

"All these people are today dead," Alexandre Schneebeli, secretary of the Swiss parliament's rehabilitation commission, told AFP.

"This recognition was essential in the eyes of the people concerned and those close to them," the statement added.

Swiss courts in the Nazi-era punished those caught aiding Jews on the grounds that their actions violated Swiss neutrality.

Switzerland helped nearly 300,000 refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe during the war years, but also turned back 20,000 - most of them Jews.

In 2001 a committee of historians concluded the policy pursued by the Swiss between 1933, when Hitler came to power in Germany and 1945, when he was finally defeated by the Allied forces, had been "excessively restrictive."

The Swiss parliament adopted the rehabilitation law as a result. 

Of the 137 people rehabilitated, 59 were Swiss, 34 French, 24 Italian, six German, three Polish, with one Czech, one Hungarian, a Spaniard -- and several who were "stateless" at the time