Letter: Calling Swedish banks to account

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The Independent Online
From Mr Nicholas Faith

Sir: In his article on Jewish accounts in Swiss banks ("Lost treasure of the Nazis' victims", 16 September), David Horovitz concentrates on efforts over the years to persuade the Swiss banks to examine their archives (and their consciences?) more thoroughly. But he, and indeed the Jewish researchers, could usefully also put pressure on the Swedish authorities.

Before the war many Jews in northern Germany and, more particularly, the Baltic states, entrusted their money not to Swiss banks, but to those in Sweden, nearer than Switzerland, and also famously neutral in both wars. Unfortunately, in the 1950s and early 1960s, when the Israeli government started to inquire into lost accounts, the then Swedish minister of justice was far less helpful than the Swiss authorities. It was, he said, not a matter of government concern, and he refused to put any pressure on the banks to look for the victims' money. As far as I know, this remains the Swedish attitude to this day.

Yours etc,

Nicholas Faith

London, N7