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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 April, 2005, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
Nazi crimes taint Liechtenstein
Jewish slave labourers worked on Austrian estates owned by the Liechtenstein royal family during World War II, an official report has found.

The royal family also bought property taken from Jews in Nazi-occupied Austria and Czechoslovakia, it says.

But the Alpine principality - neutral during the war - did not trade in gold or other valuables looted from Jews, the four-year probe concluded.

An international team of six historians examined the country's war record.

Jewish inmates from the Strasshof concentration camp near Vienna were hired out to three agricultural estates in Austria owned by the family of Prince Franz Josef II, the report said.

Passivity criticised

"Liechtenstein was definitely not the worst country during that period, but there are a lot of things that could have been improved," said historian and commission member Dan Michman.

Prince Hans-Adam II (left) with son Prince Alois
Prince Alois (right) now runs Liechtenstein
"It belonged to the bystanders and not the perpetrators."

Investigations have revealed that neighbouring Switzerland sent thousands of Jewish refugees back to Nazi-occupied Europe and that Swiss companies traded with Nazi Germany.

Liechtenstein took in about 400 refugees from Nazi-controlled Austria between 1933 and 1945 but turned back 165, the commission said.

No works of art plundered by the Nazis were traced to Liechtenstein collections.

The investigation was prompted by concerns voiced by the World Jewish Congress.

Liechtenstein's Prince Franz Josef II died in 1989, and his family has ruled for 300 years.

The tiny country, lying between Austria and Switzerland, is a tax haven under pressure to reform its banking system.


SEE ALSO:
Holocaust heirs win record payout
14 Apr 05 |  Americas
Liechtenstein banking crackdown
20 Jul 00 |  Business
Swiss wind up Holocaust fund
03 May 02 |  Europe
Country profile: Liechtenstein
25 Apr 01 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Liechtenstein
25 Apr 01 |  Europe


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