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Jews use Senator D'Amato to sue Swiss Banks

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Published on 21 Feb 2021 / In Jewish Genocides

U-S Senator Alfonse D'Amato told Swiss lawmakers visiting Congress Thursday that the move by Swiss Banks to create a 71 (m) million (U-S) dollar fund for Holocaust victims and their families is a positive step.

D'Amato is leading an effort to trace the missing assets of Jewish Holocaust victims, believed to be hidden away by Nazis in Swiss banks after World War Two.

Swiss officials say they're ready to work with U-S investigators hoping to discover the truth.

Meanwhile New York state officials say they're stepping up their own probe of Swiss banks.

U-S Senator D'Amato welcomed efforts of the Swiss government, outlined by Swiss officials visiting Washington Thursday, to trace some 7 (b) billion (U-S) dollars in stolen Jewish assets said to still be held in Swiss banks.

SOUNDBITE: (English)
"But I think it's important that the Swiss government knows that we are serious and there are serious consequences if there is not vital action taken. So I think that point has been established."
SUPER CAPTION: Alfonse D'Amato, U-S Senator New York

D'Amato promised his own congressional probe would be aggressive, but he warned against any harsh actions aimed to punish the Swiss at this time.

SOUNDBITE: (English)
"Let's be persistent, let's get the facts, we want an accounting of every single dollar, and we want to know about all the transactions, economic and otherwise that have any bearing on this. Let's be strong and persistent. Let's not begin to take punitive steps at this time."
SUPER CAPTION: Alfonse D'Amato, U-S Senator New York

Two Swiss lawmakers who are leading the way to open up Swiss bank records joined Senator D'Amato for the Washington news conference.

SOUNDBITE: (English)
"We want to know why certain happened. This is painful I am sure it will be even more painful as the reports come out. But I think it is our responsibility the generations of today to go through this and to be faced with our own history."
SUPER CAPTION: Lili Nabholz. Member, Swiss National Council

But D'Amato's urging of restraint may already be falling on deaf ears.

In his own home state of New York, efforts are underway to intensify a four-month probe of Swiss banking activity.

Governor George Pataki is sending the state's top banking official to Switzerland to investigate the actions of Swiss banks in the state during World War Two.

SOUNDBITE: (English)
"We are going to have a complete examination by New York State banking authorities of Swiss banking activities in this state from 1939 through the end of the Holocaust. It's never been done before, it's going to be done now, and we are going to have a full accounting."
SUPER CAPTION: George Pataki. New York State governor

Pataki made the comment before a largely Jewish crowd of supporters.

He was joined by Elie Weisel, himself a Holocaust survivor.

Weisel echoed the sentiment of many in New York 's sizeable Jewish community who want to know the truth behind the stolen assets.

SOUNDBITE: (English)
"If they were to offer us all the money in the world, do you think it would be possible to bring back one Jewish child, from Treblinka or Babi Yar? We don't want that. What we are interested in, obsessed with, is first of all justice. Justice which is rooted in
memory."
SUPER CAPTION: Elie Weisel, Holocaust survivor

New York state officials hope to meet soon with top officials of Swiss Banks, and with U-S investigators conducting an audit of long dormant Swiss bank accounts.

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