During World War II (WWII), approximately 300,000 people crossed the border into Switzerland from Nazi-occupied countries.  Of the refugees, around 30,000 were Jews.  An estimated 24,500 mainly Jewish civilians, however, were turned away.  To review its wartime policies, the government set up an “Independent Commission of Experts on the Second World War,” which started its work in 1996 and produced a report that was welcomed by the government in 1999.  Switzerland continues to dedicate resources and implement programs toward the goals it endorsed in the Terezin Declaration, as well as promote Holocaust education and remembrance.

According to the Gamaraal Foundation, an organization established in 2014 that provides Holocaust education to the wider public and financial assistance to Holocaust survivors, there are approximately 450 Holocaust survivors among Switzerland’s 18,000 Jews.  The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) currently provides funding for social welfare benefits to 64 Holocaust survivors through the Swiss Welfare Jewish Organization.

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The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future