Majority Rule: Guarantee Of Democracy?

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Majority Rule: Guarantee Of Democracy?


Swiss Bank Controversy: Who’s Money Is It?
It is hard to imagine having everything you ever owned taken away in a split second. Many Jews experienced this after the years of oppression by the Nazi regime. The Jews had everything stripped away: their families, their possessions, their futures, and their dignity. “I would give that money away for anybody. I should have had some relatives survive. I mean most of my friends, they had sisters, or cousins, or aunts or somebody to belong to. I had nobody,” said Gizella Weisshaus (Jones 1996). It has been about fifty years now since the end of the Holocaust. Up until recent times, the survivors of the Holocaust have decided that they deserve their money that they put into the neutral Swiss bank accounts before the war. They did this to protect their assets from the Nazis. This then provides the controversy, fifty years later, do the Holocaust survivors and their families deserve the money back from the Swiss banks, or are the Swiss banks even responsible for paying back the money? The controversy first arose with Gizella Weisshaus, when she could not receive her father’s money after the war ended because she did not know her father’s bank account number. When she was a young girl, her father had been taken away to the concentration camps. As he was being taken away, he mentioned to her that he had put money away in a Swiss Bank account and that she should go and claim it when the war ended. Years after the war she went back to claim the money, and the teller told her that with out an account number she could not do this. They then told her it would take five years to research the dormant account; therefore she would have to wait. Her response was, “It made me angry that even now they claim they need five years to find these dormant accounts, as if fifty years wasn’t enough” (Jones, 1996). Weisshaus was the first one to raise the red flag of the Swiss Bank controversy. Which has three main sides to the issue, the Swiss side, the United State’s side, and the side of the Holocaust victims. The Swiss believe that they do not owe the survivors and their families any money because of the laws that protect them. They said that they are a neutral country and that the money put into the accounts was not claimed in time. The United States took the position that if the money belonged to the victims of the Holocaust, the money then should be returned back to them, regardless if the claim is made one or fifty years later. The money belongs to the victims just as it did before the war. The Holocaust victims’ position is that they are owed this money back because it was theirs in the first place before the war, no questions asked.
Switzerland was a neutral country at the time of the war, and is still a neutral country at this period of time. The Swiss position on this controversy is that they do not believe that they owe the unclaimed money to the Jewish survivors and their families, if there is not proper documentation to back up the claims. The Swiss are examining the situation and are unable to conclude what happened to the money in the accounts and where the money went. The Swiss are very defensive with the allegations from the Jewish survivors. They do not like being accused of destroying bank accounts and being called an “ally” to the Nazis during the war (Border 2, 1998). That, therefore, is the reason why the banks are so hesitant to giving the money back to the survivors. They have a valid excuse why the documents may be gone after fifty years, but the banks as a whole, do not like being seen as the bad guys. The Swiss even have laws protecting them and their reasons for not returning the money back to the survivors. “Switzerland does not provide for the government to receive the unclaimed property of those who have died with out leaving a will or heirs. Therefore, the

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