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Friday, 19 May, 2000, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Swiss holocaust payout
Auschwitz concentration camp
Auschwitz: The Sonabends parents died in the camp
By Claire Doole in Geneva

The Swiss Government has agreed to pay $118,000 to a Jewish brother and sister whose parents died in a Nazi concentration camp after being deported from Switzerland.

The settlement covers costs incurred by Charles and Sabine Sonabend, who in return they will drop their legal action against the Swiss Government.

It follows a similar payout in January to a holocaust survivor who was deported from Switzerland.

Last year an international panel condemned Switzerland for turning back thousands of Jews knowing they faced almost certain death at the hands of the Nazis.

Late compensation

Charles and Sabine Sonabend had argued that the Swiss authorities were partly responsible for the deaths of their parents.

The compensation comes nearly 60 years after Charles and Sabine Sonabend fled with their parents to Switzerland from Nazi-occupied Belgium in 1942

But once in Switzerland they were arrested and deported.

The children were rescued and hidden in Paris but their parents were killed at Auschwitz concentration camp.

Legal manoeuvre

Earlier this year, Auschwitz survivor Joseph Spring was also awarded about $60,000 in costs in recognition of his suffering.

Like tens of thousands of Jews, he was handed over to the Nazis by Swiss border guards.

Switzerland took in about 30,000 Jews during the war, but it rejected an equal number.

The decision in both cases to pay costs rather than compensation is a legal manoeuvre to avoid claims from other holocaust victim's families.

However, no other cases are pending.

The Swiss finance minister will meet the Sonabands next week to express the government sympathy and regret at the family's tragedy.

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11 Apr 00 | Europe
Holocaust revisionist sentenced
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