(JTA) — The U.S. Senate Budget Committee has accused Credit Suisse of impeding an investigation into former accounts at the bank held by Nazis, including many who fled to South American countries after World War II.
On Tuesday, the committee released two reports, one by an independent ombudsman the bank had hired to oversee the investigation and one by a forensic research team. The bank fired the ombudsman, American lawyer Neil Barofsky, in November, months into his investigation.
“Credit Suisse’s decision to stop its review midstream has left many questions unanswered, including questions about the thoroughness of its prior investigative efforts, the extent to which it served Nazi interests and the bank’s role in servicing Nazis fleeing justice after the war,” Barofsky wrote in his findings, according to reports.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Senate committee’s ranking Republican, added in a statement on Tuesday: “When it comes to investigating Nazi matters, righteous justice demands that we must leave no stone unturned. Credit Suisse has thus far failed to meet that standard.”
Jewish organizations have long claimed that in addition to playing a key role in financially supporting Nazi Germany, Credit Suisse has held onto money looted from Jews long after the war. In 1999, the Swiss bank paid Jewish groups and Holocaust survivors a settlement of $1.25 billion in restitution for withholding money from Jews who tried to withdraw their funds.
In 2020, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an antisemitism watchdog named after a famed Nazi hunter, reported that an Argentine investigator had found evidence that thousands of Nazis who fled to Argentina had kept accounts at Credit Suisse for decades, some with looted funds. The bank then opened an internal investigation.
Earlier this year, Grassley said that he had “received credible allegations of potential wrongdoing related to Credit Suisse’s internal investigation, including specifically the questionable removal of Mr. Barofsky in late 2022.”
“[T]he information we’ve obtained shows the bank established an unnecessarily rigid and narrow scope, and refused to follow new leads uncovered during the course of the review,” Grassley said in a statement.
According to the Associated Press, the forensic firm AlixPartners’ report showed that 21 Credit Suisse accounts had connections to Nazis, including multiple SS officers, on the Wiesenthal Center 2020 list. The New York Times reported that Barofsky, who was hired by the bank in February, had not found any accounts definitively linked to Nazis that were still open at the time of his firing, but he wrote that he was in November still looking into accounts not included in the 1990s report that he believed could have held Nazi money.
The bank said in a statement that the new reports confirm “existing research on Credit Suisse’s history published in the context of the 1999 Global Settlement that provided binding closure for the Swiss banks regarding all issues relating to World War II.”
The probe will continue in some form, as the Senate committee noted that the bank “committed to further investigate its apparent role in supporting Nazis fleeing from justice after WWII.”
Thousands of Nazis fled Europe to havens in Latin America after the war, most notably to countries such as Argentina and Brazil but also to others such as Paraguay, Uruguay and Peru.
Switzerland had long claimed full neutrality during World War II, but the 1990s investigations into banks and other wartime financial dealings with Nazi Germany shattered that reputation. The country’s financial system, it was revealed, had laundered gold and other stolen goods through the war and resisted pushes in its immediate aftermath to pay restitution to Jewish victims of the Nazis.
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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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