SWITZERLAND


SWITZERLAND
SWITZERLAND, central European republic. -The Medieval Community Since the frontiers of Switzerland have undergone a long process of evolution, it is difficult to determine where and when the Jews appeared for the first time. In Kaiseraugst a finger-ring with a carved menorah, a shofar, and an etrog were found in Roman ruins. They are dated to the end of the fourth century. From then on there is no evidence of Jewish life until the 13th century. Jews are first mentioned in basle from 1213, when the bishop of the town ordered the return of the pledges which he had deposited with a Jewish moneylender. In the list of the taxes due from the most important Jewish communities of the Holy Roman Empire (1241), Basle is mentioned as liable for 40 silver marks and 20 silver marks. In the course of the 13th century the first Jewish communities appeared in lucerne (1252), berne (1262–63), St. Gall (1268), Winterthur (before 1270), zurich (1273), schaffhausen (1278), Zofingen and Bischofszell (1288), and Rheinfelden (1290). The number of communities increased in the succeeding century, when there were some 30 communities in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. At the same time, increasing numbers of communities were established in what has become the French-speaking area of Switzerland, then part of the region where the house of Savoy held sway: besides geneva , where the first Jewish settlement is mentioned in 1281–82, 14 communities were formed at the end of the 13th and beginning of the 14th centuries. It is apparent that most of these Jews came from Alsace and southern Germany on the one hand and from France on the other, the stream of immigration gaining in intensity after the expulsion of the Jews from France in 1306. The taxes of the Jews were paid to the counts of Hapsburg in the north and to the dukes of Savoy in the south, with the towns often securing a portion of these revenues for themselves. On occasion, the Jews received the freedom of a city in the north, but this was of limited duration. The principal occupation of these groups of Jews was moneylending. The most important communities in Switzerland proper were those of Berne, Zurich, and Lucerne. In Zurich a beautiful reception hall of a Jewish moneylender has been discovered. He painted the coat of arms of his noble clients with Hebrew inscriptions on the walls. By the middle of the 14th century the right to authorize the existence of a community had been transferred to the towns. The communities appear to have been relatively small; Berne, Zurich, and some other communities seem to   have owned cemeteries. The life of the Jews until the middle of the 14th century appears to have been free of any major upheavals, with the exception of Berne, where as the result of a blood libel (c. 1294) some Jews were executed and the rest expelled. The tomb of the supposedly martyred child in the blood libel case was for a long time a place of pilgrimage for Christians. In 1403 another libel was voiced in Diessenhofen, leading to persecutions in Schaffhausen. In 1348 the whole of Swiss Jewry was threatened with extermination. The black death having reached Savoy, a number of Jews of Chillon were tortured to confess to having caused the plague by poisoning the wells. As news of this spread to other communities on Lake Geneva, to German-speaking Switzerland, and to northern Europe, a wave of anti-Jewish persecutions ensued; as each town was struck by the plague, the Jews were burnt at the stake. This was the fate of almost all the communities on the shores of Lake Geneva. When the municipality of Berne learned of these accusations, it requested a copy of the confession, and soon after, the Jews of Berne too were burnt at the stake (November 1348). One local Jew was even accused of having sent poison to the Jews of Basle, and the municipality warned various towns to beware of the Jewish poisoners. Practically all the towns of Switzerland took up the accusation, burning or expelling the Jews, particularly Zurich (Feb. 22, 1349) and Lucerne. These persecutions also spread to Alsace and Germany. The community of Switzerland was thus dispersed, if not annihilated. A few years later, however, the survivors, together with newcomers, had reestablished themselves and reconstituted the former communities. However, as a result of the competition of the Lombards and the Cahorsins, the usefulness of the Jews as a source of credit soon diminished and they were expelled from those towns which required residence permits (Berne, 1427; fribourg , 1428; Zurich, 1436; Geneva, 1490). From Basle they fled out of fear of persecution (1397). Soon, only a few Jewish physicians were allowed to live in the Swiss towns. After expulsions from the big cities, Jews found refuge in small towns such as Bremgarten, Kaiserstuhl or the monastery village of Rheinau (1475). After then, their traces disappear. The only Jewish scholar of note in Switzerland during the Middle Ages was Moses of Zurich, who, at the beginning of the 14th century, wrote notes and additions on the SeMaK (Sefer Mitzvot Katan). In the 1560s the first Jewish families reappear in the region of Basle/Southern Alsace (Kembs, Weil), Waldshut (Tiengen), and possibly the Bodensee region (Rheineck). They lived at various places, e.g., Rapperswil, Mammern, Andelfingen, etc. In 1560, a Hebrew printing press was established in Tiengen, north of Zurzach. In the 17th century stable rural communities came into being. Most of the Jews resided on the border of Switzerland from western Alsace to the Rhine valley, from Basle to Hohenems in Vorarlberg, trading in cattle and peddling during weekdays. In Switzerland they were expelled from the bishopric of Basle (1694) and from Dornach (1736). In the territory of the "county of Baden," administered after 1711 by Berne, Zurich, and Glarus, the Jews concentrated themselves in the two villages of Endingen and Lengnau, having a full Jewish infrastructure and building representative synagogues in the 1750s. In Neuchâtel some Jews already tried to settle in the 1770s. The duke of Savoy attracted Alsatian Jews to Carouge, near Geneva. In 1780, some Jews also resided in Porrentruy and slowly the Jewish landscape of Switzerland began to change. -Slow Steps Toward Emancipation The proclamation of the Helvetian Republic (1798) was a turning point in the history of the Jews in Switzerland. A year earlier, the Swiss confederation had been compelled to refrain from any discriminatory measures against French Jews. As the influence of the ideas of the French Revolution made itself felt, the problem of the rights of the Jews arose. During the ensuing debates, a majority emerged which refused to grant the Jews total emancipation on the grounds that the Jews were a political rather than a religious body, insistent on preserving their particularism. Following protests by the Jewish communities, a new debate was held, but no conclusions were reached. In the meantime, the status of the Jews resembled that of the aliens residing in Switzerland. They were granted freedom of movement, residence, and trade. Some Jews managed to receive a settlement permit in Basle (after 1799), Berne (before 1820), Zurich (1817), La Chaux de Fonds (1818), Avenches (1827), and elsewhere. The publication of napoleon 's "Infamous Decree" in 1808, which constituted a check to the civil rights of the Jews, strengthened the hand of their Swiss adversaries. The canton of Aargau dealt with the problem of the Jews in the following manner (May 5, 1809): They were subject to all laws and ordinances of the canton without receiving citizenship; their commercial activities were regulated and limited; and they were advised to engage in useful professions. They were also required to obtain a special authorization before marrying. This was obviously a serious lowering of their status, which also encouraged discriminatory police measures. In 1824, the canton reorganized the Jewish community: It was authorized to retain funds for education and worship, and the Jews were also ordered to provide for the needs of their destitute coreligionists without the assistance of the public authorities. The administrative body was to be nominated by the government of the canton. The freedom of the cities was still refused to them, but instead of being considered as aliens, they became dependents of the canton. In the meantime the situation of the Jews in Switzerland became increasingly paradoxical as certain foreign governments, especially that of France, became interested in safeguarding the rights of their citizens of Jewish religion who were discriminated against in Switzerland. The case of the Jews of Alsace, who were already numerous in Switzerland, was of profound importance for the situation of the Jews in the country. Finally, the revision of the federal constitution of 1866 granted the Jews freedom of residence throughout Switzerland, which henceforward was no longer   Major Jewish communities in Switzerland, 2004. Major Jewish communities in Switzerland, 2004.   dependent on adherence to one of the recognized Christian sects. Federal intervention had become necessary as a result of contradictory votes in which the Jews of Aargau had been granted and then subsequently refused civic rights. In fact the regional Great Council had voted for their emancipation on May 15, 1862, but had been dismissed by a popular vote which had been solicited after a deliberate and active agitation. The emancipation decree having thus been repealed, a new law reintroduced most of the former conditions one year later. It abolished the discriminatory measures concerning residence and marriage and granted the communities the right of electing their own administrative bodies. There had thus been a very slight progress. Other cantons had already previously granted equal rights to their inhabitants and most other cantons followed suit from 1862, with the exception of Aargau, which did not grant full local citizenship rights until Jan. 1, 1879, following a campaign led by the famous historian meyer kayserling , rabbi of Endingen and Lengnau between 1861 and 1871, and the intervention of the federal council, the high court and the diet (Bundesversammlung). Therefore the one canton which inherited two rural communities at its founding in 1803 was the last to grant them emancipation. However, the religious liberty of the Jews was incomplete. After a campaign against cruelty toward animals, in which the influence of the antisemitic movements of the end of the century could be detected, a popular vote decided to include prohibition of sheḥitah in the federal constitution (1893). As this decision was taken by plebiscite, it could only be abrogated by another plebiscite, and so the practice of sheḥitah on quadrupeds – the legislator neglected the case of fowls – is still prohibited in Switzerland. -Population The Jewish population of Switzerland increased steadily. Southern Alsatian and south-Baden rural Jews could finally settle in the areas of commerce which they had already frequented from the end of the 16th to the middle of the 17th centuries. In 1888 8,069 persons declared themselves as Jewish; in 1910 20,797 were registered as such. After the 1870s immigration of Jews from Eastern Europe began. Students were attracted by Swiss universities. Women were allowed to study at the University of Zurich from 1867. rosa luxemburg earned her Ph.D. in Zurich, chaim zhitlowsky was active and vladimir medem organized the BUND from Geneva. Jews were welcomed as university teachers, so chaim weizmann taught chemistry, moritz lazarus was university rector in Berne, max buedinger dean in Zurich in 1863. A circle of Jewish students existed around the Hungarian-Jewish philosopher ludwig stein in Berne. Most of the East European Jewish students left Switzerland between 1914 and 1917. After granting freedom of residence in 1864/66 the communities of Endingen and Lengnau (where the synagogues, reconstructed during the middle of the 19th century, are to be seen and are still used for marriages and some Rosh Ḥodesh prayers) were broken up, and with the exodus from rural communitites of nearby Alsace and Baden, many new communities were formed in cities (Basle 1805, Avenches 1827, La Chaux de Fonds 1833, Berne and Bienne 1848, Geneva 1852, Yverdon 1850, Baden 1859, Zurich 1862, St. Gall 1863, Lucerne 1867, Lausanne 1868). However the number of Jews has remained small in relation to the general population (1920: 0.54%). Jews were prominent in cattle trading but did not dominate it, constituting only one seventh of all dealers. Many entered the textile trade; some built up firms. Yet Protestant families had already established an international textile industry, when the Jews still were forced to be peddlers. Most banks were in Protestant hands, only the Dreyfus bank of Basle and Julius Bär of Zurich gained some importance. After the 1870s Swiss Jews began to enter liberal professions. They were prominent in founding department stores (Julius Brann of Berlin, the Maus. Nordmann and Loeb families) and held a good part of the St. Gall embroidery industry (until 1912). With the general crisis of the textile industry in Switzerland, the branch lost its importance. The regime of government rationing of food and its preference for peasants' organizations during World War II ruined the private cattle trade in general. In the beginning of the 21st century Jews were concentrated in white collar jobs. As of 2000, 18,000 Jews were registered in Switzerland. The most important Jewish groups were in the cantons of Zurich (6,461), Geneva (4,356), Basle (city and canton, 1,739), Vaud (2,062), and Berne (807). Most of the Jews had received Swiss citizenship, so that the percentage was finally the same as among the non-Jews (80%). They mostly lived in city agglomerations. Orthodox families had more children, but many of them remained at their later places of education (e.g., Israel) and left Switzerland. The Jews are no longer the only non-Christian minority. The Muslims surpass them by far (310,800 persons in 2000). In 1904 13 communities, then consisting of about 1,500 heads of families, formed the Schweizerische Israelitische Gemeindebund (SIG) or Fédération Suisse des Communautés Israélites   (FSCI). The SIG is the central body of Swiss Jewry, but all member organizations retain complete autonomy in their own affairs, notably in religious and administrative matters. Four ultra-Orthodox (ḥaredi) communities do not participate, two liberals were not accepted. In 2005 there were 23 communities with about 13,500 members. Some 4,500 others are not attached to any formal community, but often participate in other Jewish associations, such as B'nai B'rith. In 1956, after the Hungarian uprising and Suez war, SIG looked after Jewish refugees from Egypt and Hungary. It also attended to the needs of Jews who had fled to Switzerland from Czechoslovakia after August 1968. In the 1970s and 1980s Anglo-Saxon families moved to Geneva and Zurich/central Switzerland, thus giving impetus to founding liberal Jewish communities. Well-to-do Sephardi Jews of North African origin immigrated to the region of Geneva and Lausanne between the 1950s and 1970s. In Geneva, in 1965 the Groupe fraternel séfaradi (est. in 1925) merged with the Communauté Israelite, having its own services in their "Hekhal ha-Ness." In Lausanne once a month a Sephardi service is held. With the former Alsatian families of French Switzerland turning completely francophone and the Sephardi not knowing German at all, a huge cultural gap exists between the two groups in Switzerland. (Simon R. Schwarzfuchs / Uri Kaufmann (2nd ed.) -Jewish Attitudes 1933 to 1945 The SIG had to organize the import of kosher meat. At the end of the World War I sheḥitah was permitted, but banned again after 1920. The fight against antisemitism occupied the Jewish communities in the 1920s and after 1933. On April 1, 1933, hundreds of Jews fled to Switzerland from Germany (the day of the "Judenboykott"). In Lucerne, the synagogue was attacked and the Swiss government felt obliged to declare that it would respect all rights of Swiss Jews. After 1935 Swiss fascism lost its popularity since the Swiss recognized that they would lose sovereignty in a Nazi Europe. In the following years the Swiss government maintained a strict attitude toward Jewish refugees: only "politically" and not "racially" persecuted ones were welcomed, i.e., social democrats and many fewer communists, who could prove their direct personal danger. The Swiss government ruled that the SIG had to organize the funding for the costs of Jewish refugees. The very acculturated German Jews were perceived as a foreign danger for Swiss society ("Ueberfremdung"). After the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany in March/April 1938 some 2,000 Jews fled to Switzerland. Thus the chief of Federal Foreigner's Police, Heinrich Rothmund, asked the Nazi authorities in October 1938 to mark the passports of all German Jews with a "J" for "Jude," so that Swiss border authorities could deny entry to Jews. Many of the accepted refugees, e.g., Kurt Tucholsky and Else Lasker-Schüler, were forced to leave by the Federal Foreigner's Police. After the outbreak of the war, Jewish refugees were engaged in "productive" labor, laying out streets, draining swamps, or helping the peasants. They had to live in military camps. Families were separated and local authorities forbade "émigrés" to visit parks and other public places. In April/May 1942, as the first rumors of the Holocaust were spreading, a massive public outcry forced the Swiss government to soften its attitude on the Jewish refugees. The debate on how to respond led to bitter internal debate in the SIG, its president, saly mayer , resigned in 1943. Some 20,000 refugees who managed to approach the Swiss border were turned back. Some 25,000 were welcomed and could survive with the 20,000 local Jews. Even if the american jewish joint distribution committee helped support the refugees (52 million Swiss francs), the 4,000 wage-earning Jews had a heavy burden to shoulder supporting thousands of refugees, donating 18,5 million Swiss francs between 1933 and 1952. After the war the Federal Foreigner's Police continued its harsh policy. The responsible Bundesrat, Eduard von Steiger, a member of the old Bernese patriciate, felt no pangs of conscience at all and resigned only as late as 1953. He is believed to be responsible for destroying files on the denial of admittance to Jews. Only about 2,500 refugees were allowed to stay. Swiss Jews felt very much obliged to help the survivors. Material aid was sent to Germany. Even a teachers' seminary was established in Basle but dissolved in 1948. The Christlich-Juedische Arbeitgemeinschaft in der Schweiz (Swiss Conference of Christians and Jews) has played an important role in the struggle against antisemitism and neo-Nazism. The "assertions of Selisberg" (Selisberger Thesen), formulated in 1946, were crucial for building a new relationship between Christians and Jews in postwar Western Europe. -Debate on the Past The first public debate on Swiss refugee policy began in 1953. A detailed report was written by Carl Ludwig, himself a police official in Basle, and published in 1957. Following a series of representations made by the SIG, the problem of heirless property left in Switzerland by victims of the Nazis was legally resolved in a first step (1955/1962): Jewish social institutions in Eastern Europe, the Maghreb, and Israel received some funds. In 1969 Alfred Häsler published his popular, moving book, The Lifeboat is Full. It was widely discussed, but most politicians were not interested in a debate then. In his address at the dedication ceremony of a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust in Berne's Jewish cemetery on November 9, 1988, Flavio Cotti, a member of the Swiss federal government, gave what amounted to its first, although guarded, official apology for Switzerland not having saved more Jews during the Holocaust. In 1995, on the 50th anniversary of the end of the War, Swiss president Kaspar Villiger apologized to Jews in the name of the Swiss government for neglect towards Jewish refugees before and during the war years.   But only after 1995 did a debate begin, which ended with the establishment of an Independent Historian's Commission (1996), which published its findings in 2002 in 24 volumes and over 10,000 pages. No other European country made such a serious attempt at investigating national history. Research by historians in Swiss archives found that at least 20,000 refugees were turned away by Switzerland during the War. Many Swiss were embittered that their memory of Swiss resistance against Nazism was challenged. Nationalist resentment arose in the public. The SIG took a very hard line and demanded "justice for the Jewish people and fairness for Switzerland." Some of the American-Jewish attacks were not substantiated by facts, since Swiss politics is characterized by the compromises of a "Konkordanz-Demokratie" and is not accustomed to harsh public polemics as in the U.S. Under strong pressure, the Swiss banks agreed to search for deposits made by Jews prior to World War II and during the Holocaust. It is thought that many of the depositors perished in the Holocaust and left no survivors. In February 1966, the Swiss banks claimed that they had found only some $32 million of such deposits. The international Jewish organizations dealing with the subject (World Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Restitution Organization) felt that this sum was only a small fraction of what really lies hidden. In May 1996, a memorandum of understanding was reached and Swiss banks paid over one billion dollars to the World Jewish Restitution Organization. In addition, a special Swiss foundation for victims of Nazi persecution (non-Jews and Jews alike) was established in 1997; 273 million. Swiss Francs were donated to it by the Swiss national bank, three private banks, and private industry. Out of 312,000 victims, 255,000 were Jews. Until 2001, some 124,000 people living in Israel, 97,000 in Eastern Europe, and 70,000 in North America had received financial help from this Swiss foundation. -Antisemitism Though there were some manifestations of antisemitism (attacks on kippah-wearing Jews in Zurich, desecrations of Jewish cemeteries and the synagogue of Lugano (2005), the majority of the Swiss population felt more threatened by Muslim and Third World immigrants. Still antisemitic graffiti do occur, as do revisionist statements, to which the authorities tend to react quite strongly. A new anti-racist legislation, passed by parliament in June 1993, makes antisemitic propaganda and the denial of the Holocaust a criminal offense. Some right-wing politicians attacked the law as being a limitation of freedom of speech and called for a referendum in 1994. The fight to gain a majority of the votes was very hard for the SIG. In 2005 some populist politicians tried to vote down the law through another popular referendum. From its inception, SIG also attempted to bring about the abolition of the ban on ritual slaughter. The Swiss government removed the ban against sheḥitah from the Swiss constitution and added a new law for the protection of animals (1973). When it tried to introduce an exception clause for the Jews, strong opposition was voiced in the Swiss media. The SIG abstained from fighting further in order to safeguard "confessional peace in Switzerland," as formulated by its president Alfred Donath in 2004. The animal protectors were so thoroughly scandalized that they gathered the necessary signatures for an initiative to ban even the import of kosher meat. However, the World Trade Organization prohibits import restrictions of this kind. -Internal Jewish Life The Swiss Jewish community maintains care of the aged, in which it follows the most up-to-date methods, and promotes youth education through, inter alia, summer camps, meetings of young people and organized trips to Israel, and support for the youth movements. Swiss Jewry has also maintained since 1968 a museum in Basle (Juedisches Museum der Schweiz) which has an important collection of cultural and religious objects. In 1964, SIG participated in the Swiss Exhibition at Lausanne with a pavilion designed to express the basis tenets of Judaism, but the presentation of recent history was neither allowed nor desired by the organizers (i.e., refugee policy). After 1982 an exhibition on the history of Swiss Jewry was shown at various places and translated into French. The SIG is a founding member of the world jewish congress , and a member of the European Council of Jewish Community Services and maintains active contact with all world Jewish charitable organizations. Inspired by the American Young Leadership program, Swiss-Jewish youngsters are coached in how to represent Judaism and Jewish history to their non-Jewish peers. After 1955 a movement establishing Jewish schools, inspired by the American example, was led first by the Orthodox community of Zurich. Basle followed (1961) and after 1970 Jewish schools were established in Geneva and Lausanne, a second one in Zurich (1979) and Basle, where there even is a small Jewish high school. Thus 53% of all Jewish children in Switzerland (1st to 4th grade) attend a Jewish school (2000). Some 30% frequenting general schools receive religious lessons, so that more than 80% of all Jewish children receive some kind of Jewish education. Jewish youth movements have also made an impression. A wide range is active from the Aguda Youth (Zurich), to Bnei Akiva (Zurich), to centralist Ha-Goshrim (Zurich), Emuna (Basle) and Ha-Noar ha-Bone (Berne) to Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir (Zurich). In 1952 a small yeshivah was established in Lucerne (later moving to nearby Kriens), parallel to the Lithuaniantype yeshivah of the Botschko family in Montreux (est. in 1927), which functioned until 1985. According to a 2002 Gallup poll, 27% percent of the Jews visit a synagogue at least once a week. Polarization of Jewish life caused a breakup of Orthodox groups. New minyanim were founded. The Lubavitch   movement established itself in Switzerland after 1982. Liberal communities came into being in Geneva (1970) and Zurich (1978). Egalitarian groups were also active in the Zurich Cultusgemeinde (Schabbat acheret) and Ofek in Basle. The "Einheitsgemeinde," combining all Jewish currents, is being seriously challenged. After 16 years of discussion, the SIG nearly split over the admission of liberal communities (2004); the Orthodox groups threatened to pull out. A majority did vote for admission but not the necessary two-thirds, so a liberal "faction" was established, which coexists with the SIG on equal footing. Swiss Jews were definitely more integrated into Swiss society after 1945. They were very proud that the first Jewish member of Swiss government was elected in 1993, ruth dreifuss , being of old Endingen-Jewish ancestry (in office until 2002). Still the number of mixed marriages went up to 60%. Many Jews moved to suburbs far from the Jewish communities. Since being Jewish became more socially accepted, the rate of membership in the communities rose from 50% (1960) to 75% (2000). Many Jewish communities received state recognition, Basle being the first in 1973. This is a matter dealt with by each canton individually. In February 2005 a new constitution was adopted in Zurich and the way to recognition of the two democratically operating Jewish communities is now open. The first bid for recognition had been turned down in 1877. Jewish studies were integrated in university curricula, the first being Geneva with a lectureship for Jewish thought held by Chief Rabbi alexandre safran (after 1948). In 1981 the only cathedra of Jewish studies at a Catholic faculty in Europe was founded in Lucerne with Clemens Thoma, a specialist in rabbinic literature. Basle University opened its Institute for Jewish Studies in 1998, a cathedra is now active in Lausanne, and lectureships exist at the universities of Fribourg and St. Gall. Thus every Swiss university with the astonishing exception of Zurich has at least a lectureship in Jewish studies. The Jewish press, which receives no state subsidies, was firmly established. To the Israelitische Wochenblatt fuer die Schweiz, the Juedische Rundschau Maccabi of Basle was added in 1942, and the (bi-)monthly Das neue Israel (1948–86), edited by the late Veit Wyler. In 2001 the Rundschau and the Wochenblatt merged into Tachles, which bought the American-Jewish Aufbau and tries to continue it as a monthly (2005). The French-speaking have their Revue Juive. Community bulletins have become much more professional. Since 1980 there has been nearly no Jewish immigration to Switzerland, resulting in the problem of an aging community. The situation of Swiss Jewry has been characterized by two seemingly contradictory developments: a strengthening of its institutions and a weakening of its demographic base. Yet Jewish life in Switzerland is quite active and stable, even if the future existence of small communities like St. Gall, Baden, Winterthur, and Fribourg is not secure. -Swiss Jews and Israel Swiss Jews maintain active contact with Israel. Compared to 20,000 Jews in Switzerland, a high proportion of some 6,800 Swiss citizens are living in Israel. The Swiss-Israel Society is dedicated to the strengthening of relations between the two countries, and on the eve of the Six-Day War (1967) it took the lead in a spontaneous expression of solidarity with Israel on the part of all sectors of the Swiss people. (Benjamin Sagalowitz / Uri Kaufmann (2nd ed.) -Relations with Israel Switzerland does not play any political role in Middle Eastern affairs and is wary of any move that might be interpreted as a breach of her neutrality. Nonetheless, Switzerland has frequently expressed support for Israel – first demonstrated by the holding of zionist congresses on Swiss soil – and this feeling is shared by broad sectors of the Swiss public. These expressions of support reached their height during the Six-Day War (1967). Especially important in this context was the behavior of the Swiss press, cultural organizations, and mass media toward the incident of an Arab terrorist attack on an El Al plane in Zurich in 1969 and the objectivity of the Swiss authorities on all levels – political, legal, and judicial – by placing the responsibility for the attack on the governments of the Arab countries from which the terrorists operated. An act of sabotage in 1970 on a Swissair plane bound for Israel evoked a similar angry reaction. Diplomatic relations existed between the two countries from 1949 and were elevated to ambassadorial level. In addition to the embassy in Berne, Israel maintains a consulate in Zurich and a representative attached to the European office of the United Nations in Geneva. Formal agreements over air transportation exist between the two countries, as do general scientific and cultural ties. When most of the communist countries severed diplomatic relations with Israel after the Six-Day War, Switzerland represented Israel's interests in Hungary and Guinea. The broad solidarity with Israel dissipated by 1973, when of all public figures only Friedrich Dürrenmatt spoke out for Israel. The negative image of Israel in the Swiss mass media furthered this process. For many right-wing citizens, Jews are perceived as being enemies of Switzerland after the debate on refugee policy, lost property, and bank accounts. The important Swiss People's Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei, a bourgeois populist right-wing organization) withdrew its earlier ardent support of Israel. Swiss Foreign Minister Mrs. Calmy-Rey hosted the Geneva conference trying to find a way out of the blocked peace process in 2004. In the Swiss parliament a boycott of weapons from Israel was discussed in the same year, thus marking a remarkable shift in foreign policy from the deep sympathy of 1967 to today's hostility. (Uri Kaufman (2nd ed.) -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J.C. Ulrich, Sammlung juedischer Geschichten … (Basle, 1768); F. Guggenheim-Gruenberg, Geschichte der Juden in der Schweiz (1961); A. Weldler-Steinberg, Geschichte der Juden in der Schweiz 2 vols. (1966/1970); Germ Jud, 2 and 3 (1968/1993), index   S.V. Schweiz; W. Guggenheim et al, Juden in der Schweiz (1982); A.A. Haesler, The Lifeboat is Full: Switzerland and the Refugees 19331945 (1969); Schweizerischer Israelitischer Gemeindbund (= SIG), Festschrift zum 50-jaehrigen Bestehen (1954); C. Ludwig, Die Fluechtlingspolitik der Schweiz seit 1933 bis zur Gegenwart (1957); R. Swiss Jewish Relief Union, Dix années d'activité de l'Aide juive aux réfugiés en Suisse, 19331943 (1944); S.M. Stroock, in: A.J. Karp (ed.), The Jewish Experience in America, 3 (1969), 77–122; Kamis-Mueller et al, Vie Juive en Suisse (1992); M. Marcus, in: European Judaism, 44 (1990); R. Weill, "Wie lange noch Juden in der Schweiz," in: Judaica, 1 (1986), 48–57. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: U. Kaufmann, Bibliographie zur Geschichte der Juden in der Schweiz (1993); U. Altermatt, Katholizismus und Antisemitismus. (…) Zur Kulturgeschichte der Schweiz 19181945 (1999); D. Eppelbaum, "Die Wandmalereien im Haus 'Zum Brunnenhof,' Zuerich. Ein Beispiel juedischer Kunst aus dem 14. Jh. Im Spannungsfeld zwischen Adaption und Abgrenzung," in: Judaica, 4 (2002), 261–80; W. Hochreiter, Sport unter dem Davidstern. Geschichte des jüdischen Sports in der Schweiz (1998); A. Kamis-Mueller, Antisemitismus in der Schweiz (20002), U. Luethi, Der Mythos von der Weltverschwörung (1992); A. Mattioli (ed.), Antisemitismus in der Schweiz (1998); P. Krauthammer, Das Schaechtverbot in der Schweiz (2000); A. Mattioli (ed.), Antisemitismus in der Schweiz (1998); B. Meier: "Zur Geschichte des spaetmittelalterlichen Judentums," in: Judaica, 1 (1986), 2–16; D. Neumann, Studentinnen aus dem Russischen Reich in der Schweiz (18671914) (1987); P. Niederhaeuser et al. (eds.), "Fremd in Zuerich – fremdes Zuerich?" Miteilungen der Antiquarischen Gesellschaft, in: Zuerich, 72 (2005), 10–37; J. Picard, Die Schweiz und die Juden (19942), H. Roschewski, "Auf dem Weg zu einem neuen juedischen Selbstbewusstsein?" in: Geschichte der Juden in der Schweiz 19451994 (1994); H. Roschewski, Rothmund die Juden (1997); SIG (ed.), Juedische Lebenswelt Schweiz. 100 Jahre Schweizerischer Israelitischer Gemeindebund (2004); S. Maechler, Hilfe und Ohnmacht. Der Schweizerische Israelitische Gemeindebund und die nationalsozialistische Verfolgung 19331945 (2005).

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Switzerland — Switzerland, 1) die englische Bezeichnung der Schweiz; 2) die südöstlichste Grafschaft des Staates Indiana (Nordamerika), 10 QM.; im Süden u. Osten an den Staat Kentucky grenzend, von diesem durch den Ohio River getrennt, hügelig; Producte: Mais …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Switzerland — named for Schwyz, one of its original cantons. On postage stamps, etc., identified by the Roman name for the region, Helvetia, to avoid having to print the four different forms of the name in the country s four official languages: Suisse, Schweiz …   Etymology dictionary

  • Switzerland — [swit′sər lənd] country in WC Europe, in the Alps: 15,880 sq mi (41,129 sq km); pop. 6,366,000; cap. Bern: Ger. name SCHWEIZ, Fr. name SUISSE …   English World dictionary

  • Switzerland — Swiss redirects here. For other uses, see Swiss (disambiguation). Swiss Confederation redirects here. For Swiss Confederacy, see Old Swiss Confederacy. This article is about the country. For other uses, see Switzerland (disambiguation). Swiss… …   Wikipedia

  • Switzerland — /swit seuhr leuhnd/, n. a republic in central Europe. 7,248,984; 15,944 sq. mi. (41,294 sq. km). Cap.: Bern. French, Suisse. German, Schweiz. Italian, Svizzera. Latin, Helvetia. * * * Switzerland Introduction Switzerland Background: Switzerland s …   Universalium

  • Switzerland — <p></p> <p></p> Introduction ::Switzerland <p></p> Background: <p></p> The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities… …   The World Factbook

  • Switzerland —    In the past two centuries, Switzerland has provided asylum to political refugees. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, the Swiss welcomed thousands of refugees, including Jews, seeking to escape the Nazis. Some Jews also placed money in… …   Historical dictionary of the Holocaust


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