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List of 12,000 Nazis, Swiss bank accounts found in Argentina

By Don Jacobson
List of 12,000 Nazis, Swiss bank accounts found in Argentina
Investigators said the list includes accounts at the World War II-era institution Schweizerische Kreditanstalt, which later became Credit Suisse. File Photo by Ennio Leanza/EPA-EFE

March 5 (UPI) -- A list has been discovered in Argentina that includes names of thousands of former Nazis and their Swiss banking accounts that may have held stolen profits from German appropriations during World War II.

The records were found in a Buenos Aires building that was formerly a Nazi headquarters, officials said.

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The U.S.-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, which has for years tracked down members of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party, said it has received the list -- which contains 12,000 names, and some are believed to have deposited ill-gotten monies into what's now Credit Suisse bank.

The Wiesenthal Center said Monday it asked for and was given the list by Argentine investigator Pedro Filipuzzi, who discovered the papers at the building in Buenos Aires.

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The find is considered significant, as the pro-Nazi Argentine government that took power during World War II destroyed evidence of the party's activities that had been compiled in the 1930s by the anti-Fascist government of Argentina President Roberto Ortiz. The bank papers were part of the evidence collected by Ortiz before his administration was overthrown in 1943.

At that time, at least 1,400 members of the German National Socialist Party were living in Argentina, along with thousands of supporters and members of front organizations.

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Investigators said the list includes accounts at the former institution Schweizerische Kreditanstalt, which later became Credit Suisse. The Wiesenthal Center said it suspects at least some of the money in the accounts was looted from Jewish victims in Germany and is still held in dormant accounts.

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The Wiesenthal Center said it contacted Credit Suisse Vice President Christian Kung about accessing bank archives "to settle this matter on behalf of the diminishing number of Holocaust survivors."

Bank officials pointed to an investigation in the late 1990s that concluded it and other Swiss banks compiled "as complete and exhaustive a picture as possible" of the accounts of the victims of Nazi persecution, but said it would examine them again.

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