An Accounting in Switzerland

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GENEVA: For the first time, the Swiss government agreed Tuesday that unclaimed bank accounts of Holocaust victims should be used to compensate survivors and the families of victims. Officials said they will work with the nation's banks to see that the more than $27 million in dormant accounts be put into a compensation fund. But the gesture did nothing to satisfy Jewish groups, who argue that Swiss banks hold more than $7 billion which belonged to Holocaust victims. That amount also falls far short of the $250 million that Jewish groups had asked to be donated to poor and elderly Holocaust survivors. Said Avraham Burg, head of Israel's Jewish Agency, "We want what is ours and nothing more. They are trying to buy us with money that is not theirs." While the government did not detail how the money would be administered and who would receive it, one potentially insurmountable problem remains: who to give the money to. Since most relatives of Holocaust victims don't know their family member's account numbers, it's next to impossible to recover their funds.