SWITZERLAND: A PAINFUL HISTORY

UNDER PRESSURE, THE SWISS ARE RETHINKING THEIR COMPLEX ROLE IN THE NAZI ERA

Number 45 Bahnhofstrasse is an imposing building in central Zurich. Its monumental columns are topped by the sculpted heads of a peasant patriot, a mother, the god Mercury and William Tell, the mythic Swiss hero. This secular temple is the main branch of the Union Bank of Switzerland. Inside, there are acres of reddish brown Tessin marble. The ornate overhead moldings frame a 20-ft. by 30-ft. skylight. A uniformed guard approaches: "Who are you? What are you doing? Identification papers, please." Is this brusque aggressiveness necessary? "I am only following orders," he says in German.

Swiss banks have been following orders...

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