Swiss Jews fault president for Holocaust statement
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Swiss Jews fault president for Holocaust statement

Ueli Maurer says his was 'a country of freedom and law' during the war, neglects to mention it turned away those fleeing Nazis

Ueli Maurer delivering the opening speech in May 2012 at the 42. St. Gallen Symposium at the University of St. Gallen (photo credit: CC-BY-SA,International Students’ Committee, Wikimedia Commons)
Ueli Maurer delivering the opening speech in May 2012 at the 42. St. Gallen Symposium at the University of St. Gallen (photo credit: CC-BY-SA,International Students’ Committee, Wikimedia Commons)

BERN, Switzerland (AP) — Swiss Jewish groups are faulting the country’s president for failing to address the neutral country’s failings during World War II in a statement marking the annual Holocaust remembrance day.

In a statement Sunday, President Ueli Maurer said Switzerland remained “a country of freedom and law” during the war and became a safe haven for many persecuted people.

But Switzerland’s main Jewish organizations complained Monday that he neglected also to mention “the refugees who were turned back to a certain death.”

A government-commissioned report concluded in 2001 that Switzerland turned back many refugees although the government knew by 1942 of the Nazis’ “final solution.”

The government says that Maurer is aware of the need for a nuanced view of Switzerland’s wartime role and hadn’t intended to question it.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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