World

Switzerland pardons Swiss who helped Jews flee Holocaust

January 03, 2004

Switzerland has pardoned people convicted of helping Jews enter their country in order to flee the Nazis during the Second World War. They were convicted for violating the country's wartime neutrality rules.

The pardons come under a law which was passed after years of national soul searching and came into effect Jan. 1.

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Advocates of the law say it will help repair Switzerland's reputation by showing that many Swiss came to the aid of Holocaust victims.

Switzerland did accept many refugees during World War Two, but turned away large numbers of Jews, apparently to avoid offending Germany. It's estimated 20,000 refugees, most of the Jews, were turned away by the Swiss.

Anyone caught helping refugees faced fines, the loss of their job or even imprisonment.

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