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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      Oct. 17, 1996 V4, #189
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Who Leaked Syria Threat?

The head of the Research Division of Military Intelligence appeared before the Knesset Subcommittee on Intelligence, and testified Syria may soon take military measures against Israel.

Chaim Falk, chairman of the Youth Wing of the National Religious Party, demanded that the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, begin an investigation to find out who leaked this testimony to the press.

Sharansky Beats World Chess Champion

World champion chess-player Garry Kasparov arrived in Israel this week for the purpose of establishing a chess academy. Tuesday, he played 25 simultaneous matches, usually taking less than one second for each move. He won 18, came to four stalemates, and lost three - one to Minister of Commerce Natan Sharansky. Kasparov stormed out of the room after the three-hour match.

"My strategy was to keep a strong defense and then go on the attack," said Sharansky, who added that during his nine years in Soviet prisons he would often review chess moves in his head. When the Minister learned that he would receive a computer for beating the world champion, he laughed and exclaimed, "Oh, no! I just bought one two days ago."

U.S. Hides Holocaust Gold From Relatives

By Breck Ardery (VOA-New York)

Six survivors of the Nazi Holocaust testified in New York City Wednesday they have been unable to claim assets deposited by their dead relatives in Swiss banks.

A hearing was held by U.S. Sen. Alfonse d'Amato (R-NY), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, which is investigating allegations that Swiss banks hold billions of dollars in assets that were deposited in the 1930s and early 1940s by victims of the Holocaust.

Children of those victims told the hearing that they have been unsuccessful in attempts to recover the assets.

D'Amato charged the Federal Reserve Bank of New York may be hanging onto as much as two tons of gold that belonged to German Jews and other victims of World War 2.

Nazi hunter and Nobel laureate Eli Wiesel said revelations by the Banking Committee made it clear that the Nazis had monetary incentives for genocide. "Now we know that financial considerations were also part of the equation," he said. "They wanted Jewish money. It came down to money. And in a strange way this makes their crimes more despicable, more monstrous."

Leon Levy, president of the American Council of Jewish Organizations, said the situation should be rectified. "It is only right and proper that the two tons of gold resting in the Federal Reserve Bank here in New York should be released to the World Jewish Restitution Organization for the help of Jewish survivors," he said.

One 70-year-old woman who was born in Poland said she had gone to Switzerland twice to try and claim money her father had put in a bank before giving up. She said that even though she had her father's bank book and had collected $10,000 from a British bank, the Swiss banks dismissed her claim and demanded a death certificate.

"I asked him, how can I have a death certificate? I have to find Hitler," said Estelle Sapir. "The Swiss were so arrogant to me, especially the bankers." The last time she went to Switzerland was 1957.

Rose Spitz, who was born in Czechoslovakia in 1923, said her father told her he had set up a dowry for her in a Swiss bank. After she was freed from the Auschwitz death camp, she returned to her home and found Swiss banking papers that detailed an account worth $5 million. The bank denies her claim, she said. Can you imagine? They are using my money for 50 years, for 70 years."

"These people have been faced with incredible things. The Swiss banks say, 'Give us a death certificate.' Can you believe this? Can you believe that someone is a victim in a concentration camp and then an heir comes forward and they say, 'Well, give us a death certificate to prove that your loved one was killed.' That is just preposterous," d'Amato said.

Jewish groups say Swiss banks may be holding as much as $7 billion of assets and interest belonging to Holocaust victims. So far, Swiss banks say they have identified only about $32 million in such assets.

The Swiss Bankers Association says it understands the problem and recently cooperated with the World Jewish Congress to establish a panel to investigate the matter. However, d'Amato noted that the panel has five years to complete its inquiry, and he pointed out that many of the claimants are already in their 80s. The senator said his committee will continue to insist that Swiss banks provide a full and complete accounting of assets that may belong to Holocaust survivors.

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