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Swiss to move quickly on compensating Jews for stolen gold

January 12, 1997
Web posted at: 9:05 p.m. EST (1505 GMT)

GENEVA (CNN) -- The Swiss interior minister said Sunday the government plans to act quickly on compensating Jews who lost assets in the Nazi Holocaust, the clearest sign yet that the country is bowing to international pressure to set up a reparations fund.

"It is now clear that something must happen quickly," Interior Minister Ruth Dreifuss said in an interview with the SonntagsZeitung newspaper.

Also Sunday U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato released newly declassified documents that indicate The Swiss National Bank shipped 280 truckloads of Nazi gold to Spain and Portugal as part of a World War II money-laundering operation.

Jewish organizations have accused Switzerland of sitting on up to $7 billion of assets of Jews slaughtered by the Nazis. The Swiss banks say they have identified just 37 million Swiss francs ($27 million) in 775 unclaimed accounts -- although not all of this is believed to be from Holocaust victims.

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