Swiss holocaust fund

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Dan
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Swiss holocaust fund

Post by Dan » 25 Sep 2002 02:47

Swiss reject foundation

SWISS voters turned down a plan to create a foundation to help victims of the Holocaust. Right-wing politician Christoph Blocher hailed the result of Sunday's referendum, saying, "The Swiss people cannot be blackmailed." In March 1997, then-President Arnold Koller proposed the foundation, saying it should be used to help the "victims of poverty and catastrophes," including the Holocaust.

The foundation was proposed as a face-saving gesture at a time when Switzerland was confronting charges of financial complicity with Nazi Germany and of hoarding the deposits of Holocaust survivors.


http://www.fpp.co.uk/BoD/origins/greed/JTA240902.html

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 25 Sep 2002 14:00

Dan,

Why do you call a fund set up for "helping Swiss regions and humanitarian projects at home and abroad" (to quote the BBC) a "Holocaust fund"??

/Marcus

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Post by Dan » 25 Sep 2002 14:14

Marcus, if you read the article, a primary beneficiary of this fund would be holocaust survivors.

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 25 Sep 2002 14:22

Dan wrote:Marcus, if you read the article, a primary beneficiary of this fund would be holocaust survivors.


I hope you will forgive me for relying more on the BBC that on http://www.fpp.co.uk

/Marcus

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Post by Dan » 25 Sep 2002 15:41

I would frankly trust neither. Here as an American article that I wouldn't trust either

According to the official final returns, 52 percent, or 1.05 million voters, turned down a government plan to spend the interest from the sales of ''excess'' gold in three ways — one-third to the Swiss social security program, a third to regional governments and a third to people in need at home or abroad. Just 984,590, or 48 percent, voted in favor of the plan. Some 44.1 percent of eligible voters cast ballots.
''The unspeakable Solidarity Foundation cannot be created,'' said Christoph Blocher, a nationalist lawmaker. ''The Swiss people cannot be blackmailed.''
Blocher maintains that the idea behind the foundation was a waste of money because it was proposed by the government in 1997 as a solidarity fund to aid victims of the Nazis and any other people suffering from genocide or disaster.
President Kaspar Villiger said he ''especially regretted'' the vote, and added, ''The allegation of blackmail isn't right.''
At the time Switzerland was reeling from attacks by Jewish organizations alleging that the historically neutral country, and its banks, had amassed great wealth at the expense of Nazi victims during World War II.
Blocher has maintained his opposition even though all references to the Holocaust were removed in the law setting up the foundation. Compensation payments — to Nazi victims or any one else with a grievance against Switzerland — are excluded.
''This foundation is a product of the blackmailing of our country by Jewish circles in the United States,'' Blocher, a billionaire industrialist and member of parliament, said in a recent interview with the daily Basler Zeitung. ''And you must never give in to blackmail.''


http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/ap ... reg=EUROPE

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Post by Tarpon27 » 25 Sep 2002 18:28

Dan wrote:
Marcus, if you read the article, a primary beneficiary of this fund would be holocaust survivors.


From your article, quoted from:

http://www.fpp.co.uk/BoD/origins/greed/JTA240902.html

[...]

In March 1997, then-President Arnold Koller proposed the foundation, saying it should be used to help the "victims of poverty and catastrophes," including the Holocaust.

The foundation was proposed as a face-saving gesture at a time when Switzerland was confronting charges of financial complicity with Nazi Germany and of hoarding the deposits of Holocaust survivors.


It appears, from your second article, that the referendum rejected by Swiss voters had been significantly changed from the original proposal five years ago.


[...]

Blocher has maintained his opposition even though all references to the Holocaust were removed in the law setting up the foundation. Compensation payments — to Nazi victims or any one else with a grievance against Switzerland — are excluded.

[...]

The foundation was modified as it worked its way through the Swiss parliament, with pressure on Switzerland from abroad abating since 1998 when Swiss banks reached a $1.25 billion court settlement with Holocaust victims and their heirs.

[...]


It appears, that from the sources quoted, that this issue is simply a red herring. While the foundation was originally proposed to include compensation to Nazi Holocaust victims, the second article states that the new law for the foundation specifically removed any language and excluded payments to victims of the Nazis.

You state that you don't trust that article. Is there any reason why I or any reader should believe that the second article you refer to is inaccurate or a lie?

Apparently you believe that despite wht the article says about the change in the law for the foundation, that somehow Jewish Holocaust victims would be eligible under the new law for compensation had it passed; a position your own source appears to deny.

BTW, from the first site, I went to Irving's link where lawyers fees of $13.5 million for the $1.25 billion dollar settlement were attacked as being basically greedy. I don't know the cost of the settlement fees, and I have seen much higher figures, but the cost appears (from this article) to be about 1.08% of the settlement, one lawyer's fees are quoted at $275/hour, and if, using the quoted $2000 settlement if all the $1.25 billion is equally divided, I get 625,000 claimants receiving $2,000 each.

With the lawyers' fees, this is $20.80 per claimant, or 1.04% of the individual payments.

Now, this is hardly stealing, or excessive fees, per this article's information, and I wish my attorney charged such fees.

The article is at:

http://www.fpp.co.uk/BoD/origins/greed/ ... 11299.html

Mark

Dan
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Post by Dan » 25 Sep 2002 19:57

You state that you don't trust that article. Is there any reason why I or any reader should believe that the second article you refer to is inaccurate or a lie?

Apparently you believe that despite wht the article says about the change in the law for the foundation, that somehow Jewish Holocaust victims would be eligible under the new law for compensation had it passed; a position your own source appears to deny.



I don't know what is true. A very popular polititian ties it in, the AP doesn't. Who knows? I probably should have posted in the lounge, as this is current.

Tarpon27
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Post by Tarpon27 » 25 Sep 2002 20:53

Dan wrote:
A very popular polititian ties it in, the AP doesn't.


Well, first, it would hardly be the first time a politician distorted an issue or a piece of legislation to gather votes against it, provide political cover, or appeal to potential voters in the next election. Blocher is a "right wing" politican, whatever that means, and I imagine his core constitutency is opposed to what looks like a massive welfare bill for world's woes.

Again, from the article, it appears that the new law denied compensation to Nazi victims or to victims of supposed Swiss exploitation.

Blocher is a "very popular politician"? I am not arguing, but in doing a simple web search for Blocher, I am unable to determine that he holds a significant degree of influence in Swiss politics, or is immensely popular on the national scale. Obviously you know more about him and the Swiss political scene than I do. Now, it does say that he was a strong influence on keeping the Swiss from joining the EU, however.

In the article below, circa 1997, Blocher's party got 15% of the vote. I guess I consider the statement that he is very popular a bit of an exaggeration.

Resume: Christoph Blocher
BORN
Oct. 11, 1940

EDUCATION
Law degree from University of Zurich in 1971

CAREER
Started working for EMS-Chemie while a student and took top job in 1984. His 23% stake in the company is worth $500 million

PERSONAL
Married since 1967, four children. Hopes one will eventually take helm of EMS-Chemie

POLITICS
A member of Swiss Parliament since 1979. Leader of the right-wing populist Swiss People's Party

AGENDA
Keep Switzerland neutral and out of European Union; prevent use of any public funds for paying war reparations

http://www.businessweek.com/1997/28/b353574.htm

(From a 07/14/97 article)

---------------------

MAN ON A CRUSADE

Christoph Blocher's Nazi gold campaign

It was late September, 1995, and at an outdoor political rally in Zurich, Christoph Blocher was giving a familiar speech. He warned that Switzerland must not risk its autonomy by getting too close to the European Union. But this time the affair got out of hand. Skinheads who had assembled to support Blocher began throwing stones at the hundreds of anarchists massed on the other side of the Limmat River to heckle the speaker. A two-hour riot ensued downtown, with the anarchists breaking windows, overturning cars, and hurling abuse at baton-wielding police.

Not your typical executive lecture. But then there's nothing typical about the man who gave it. Blocher, 56, is one of Switzerland's most successful entrepreneurs, as head of EMS-Chemie Holding--and its most controversial politician. In a 1992 referendum, when the Swiss narrowly rejected formal association with the EU, Blocher was widely credited with swaying public opinion.

Now, Blocher, leader of the right-wing populist Swiss People's Party in the canton of Zurich, has taken up an even thornier issue expected to come to a referendum in 1998 or 1999: whether Switzerland should use its gold reserves to create a $5 billion fund for victims of Nazi and other crimes. Blocher firmly opposes the idea. He also believes the Swiss central bank should not contribute to a separate $185 million fund for Holocaust survivors and their heirs.

FOLKSY ELOQUENCE. To his critics, Blocher is a provocateur. But he also taps into a deep strain of conservatism and nationalism, especially among German-speaking Swiss. And he is increasingly resented by U.S. critics who say that Switzerland's dealings with the Nazis--specifically, acting as their banker--prolonged the war. ''A lot of Swiss feel unfairly treated, and Mr. Blocher expresses that feeling,'' says Thomas Borer, Switzerland's special ambassador on issues relating to its wartime role. Although Blocher's party polls only about 15% of the Swiss vote, his folksy eloquence--and personal fortune--give him enormous power in Switzerland, where major issues are decided by referendum. But if Blocher succeeds in blocking the reparation fund, ''he may cause a reaction against Switzerland that will not be to our advantage,'' worries one banker.

Blocher achieved his power by sheer perseverance. A pastor's son from the nation's German-speaking heartland, he grew up poor, one of 11 children. He worked his way through college, in the process becoming friendly with the founder of a small chemical company, and not many years after graduation became one of its top executives. In 1983, after the founder died, Blocher pulled off a management buyout.

Today, Blocher is one of Switzerland's richest men. He has built EMS-Chemie Holding into a powerhouse that earned $157 million on sales of $650 million in 1996. With personal control of 23% of EMS's capital and 60% of its voting shares, Blocher has a net worth on paper of around $500 million. Short and sandy-haired, he has an unassuming air. But he entertains business guests at a thousand-year-old castle on the Rhine and posts his provocative speeches on a Web site (http://www.blocher.ch).

As an executive, Blocher is hard-nosed and adaptable, focusing his company on profitable niches in the mature chemical industry. EMS-Chemie is tops in Europe in automotive undercoating, supplying nearly every carmaker. In April, Blocher inked a joint venture with a major rival, St. Paul (Minn.)-based H. B. Fuller Co. Analysts think the deal will boost EMS's prospects as an automotive supplier on both sides of the Atlantic.

Blocher is also a savvy player in the Swiss stock market. In recent years, he has poured EMS's excess cash into the shares of big Swiss drugmakers. In 1996, earnings from these investments generated nearly half of EMS's profits. Early this year, fearing a market correction, Blocher liquidated EMS's equity positions and plans to put much of the cash into a $223 million share buyback. As a result, figures Meinrad Gyr, an analyst with Zurcher Kantonalbank, EMS will earn $299 million on sales of $719 million this year--a margin of 42%.

D'AMATO FURIOUS. But Blocher's success doesn't impress his critics in the U.S. Senator Alfonse M. D'Amato (R-N.Y.), one of many American politicians who support the World Jewish Congress in pressuring the Swiss to make reparations to Holocaust survivors, is furious that Blocher continues to refer to such pressure as ''blackmail.'' Says D'Amato: ''It is a shame that Mr. Blocher would impose his narrow-minded prejudices when it comes to righting the past wrongs against humanity.''

Although Blocher insists he is no anti-Semite, his language sometimes raises hackles. In his interview with BUSINESS WEEK, he used the German word Handlanger, meaning helper or accomplice, to describe D'Amato's relationship with the WJC. ''That's pure anti-Semitism,'' says Elan Steinberg, the WJC's executive director. ''Switzerland received some $3 billion in gold that the Nazis looted from throughout Europe. My question for Mr. Blocher is: What does he intend to do about it?''

If the fight keeps escalating, U.S. politicians and investors could revolt against Swiss banks and businesses. Blocher's political argument is that the Swiss should not bow to the wishes of foreign interests. But his country may pay dearly if he prevails.

By Thane Peterson in Zurich, with John Parry in Bern and Joan Warner in New York

http://www.businessweek.com/1997/28/b353573.htm
-------------------------
'I THINK THAT THIS IS BLACKMAIL'

On June 26, Christoph Blocher discussed his political views with BUSINESS WEEK Frankfurt bureau chief Thane Peterson.

Q: You're essentially a businessman. Why also be a politician?
A: Because I'm an independent industrialist, I can bring a different point of view to politics. I think it's important to have entrepreneurs in Parliament, because politicians like to collect taxes and spend money, and entrepreneurs have to work for their money and pay taxes.

Q: Why were you against Switzerland associating with the European Union?
A: The EU is a very centralized, bureaucratic organization that likes to spend a lot of money and wants everyone to live in the same way. Switzerland has grown strong through the free market and free trade....We want to have relations with the EU, but also with America and Asia. Plus, if decisions are made in Brussels, those decisions can no longer be made in Switzerland. More and more of Switzerland's direct democracy will be lost.

Q: Let's talk about the Nazi gold question. Why are you so opposed to the $5 billion fund to compensate victims of the war and others?
A: First of all, Switzerland did not take part in World War II. Our army and neutral policy kept the Germans from invading. Another reason is that certain groups of people in New York want to take money from Switzerland. [New York Senator Alfonse] D'Amato is acting as a helper to the World Jewish Congress, Mr. [Edgar] Bronfman, etc. They have accused Switzerland and said that we must pay. And that if we don't pay, they threaten that Switzerland's reputation will be damaged. I think that this is blackmail.

Q: When you say what you said about the World Jewish Congress, you sound like an anti-Semite. In the U.S., people may think you are.
A: I'm no anti-Semite. You can be sure of that. I'm against blackmail, be it from a Jew, a Muslim, a Christian, or a nihilist. No one has the right to blackmail a country. It is not the Jews in general who are doing it. It is an organization, and that is something entirely different. For me, an anti-Semite is someone who has contempt for Jews because of their religion, their culture. That I am not. I reject the demands of the World Jewish Congress not because they are Jews, but in spite of the fact that they are Jewish.

Q: Why risk offending people when your company is expanding in the U.S.?
A: I love Switzerland. And I'm for what's right and just. And I believe that the majority of Americans, as far as I know them, respect that. If people are always afraid of the disadvantages [of speaking out], no one will take the risk of fighting for what is right.

http://www.businessweek.com/1997/28/b353575.htm

Dan
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Post by Dan » 25 Sep 2002 22:33

Switzerland's extremist right-wing People's Party, led by Christoph Blocher, also scored a major electoral breakthrough, winning 23 percent of the vote in recent elections.


I typed in Blocher Percentage Vote and came up with this.

But as I said, I wouldn't automatically trust any large media group nowdays.

thomas
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Post by thomas » 26 Sep 2002 15:35

Dear Dan

First of all i have to tell you that i am Swiss. So iknow this votation surely better then the most of the foreign journalist.

I think this time you have missunderstood somethin. In Switzerland the discussion about the holocaust is not yet finished, like in other countries like germany where you have already big problems when you make an mobile ehibition about the bad things in the Wehrmacht.

What was the votation: We have vote what we do with the amount which we receive when we (Switzerland) sells her gold. You have to know that Switzerland is the only country of the world which their money is 100% covered by gold. That is one of the reason why the Swiss Francs were so many years a strong money. Our parliment wanted to feed the Solidaritätsstiftungistiftung. The SVP told no, this money have to go to the AHV which is the "caisse" whichs pays a pension from the state after the retirement. They have big financial problems. So the votation was the money to the Solidaritätsstiftung or not. About 45 % of the voters were there. So this problem seems not the biggest problems for the swiss people. I think a lot of Swiss are really tired to hear that the swiss is gulty of every problem throughout of the World. You have to see Switzerland is a country with nearly 7 millions inhabitants. Also a very small country which knows democracy since 1848. Show me in Europe a country with a same long tradition of democracy.

To Christoph Blocher: He is not a extreme right, but he is a right konservative. The party were he belongs calls SVP (Schweizerische Volkspartei, in early days the called BGB Bauern-,Gewerbe- und Bürgerpartei). He is not the pridsdent there and this party existe more then 70 years and is also long in the Swiss Governement. They had wellknown people in the Swiss Governement during the WWII like Rudolf Minger, etc. This party has several wings, but only two were important: the wing from Zèrichj where Blocher belongs and the wing from Berne, another canton of Switzerland. They are opposite like two different parties.
For example in the cantonof Berne has the SVP since several periods more than a half of the member of the governement of the canton.

For his, what you call extreme right theme, Christoph Blocher has the AUNS an orgamnisations which belongs him and is paid by him privatly. But has nothing to do with his party SVP. Especially foreign journalist makes the mistake and mixed up the to different orgnisation. If you see an political ad of AUNS there is the whole adress on. Because in Switzerland there is a law that every political organisation which makes politcal ads has to name a person and an adress.

So you see, i am sure the Switzerland is not the devil on earth, because we are to small. I know that Fagan was attacked, but only because he sees in Switzerland the bad devil on earth. Even Fagan is american the Swiss tells never that because of him america is the devil.

Maybe is better not to belive everything which is written about the Switzerland. It exists a lot of good journalist which writes correctly about Switzerland, but there existe also a lot of journalist which comes to Switzerland stays here for 2 or 3 days and afterwards the calle herself Switzerlöand-Expert. We are always ope for criticism, but we are not always guilty when somewhere a problem is on the world.

thomas
For his oppinions

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Post by Dan » 26 Sep 2002 15:42

Thanks, Tomas, this was the intent of my post. Yes, Fagan is a devil, and the Swiss don't own anybody 1.25 billion dollars. I'm glad to see that the Swiss are getting tired of sleazy lawyers.

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