Commission of Experts Switzerland Second World War (ICE)
most important information at a glance
of the ICE
December 2001 the mandate of the ICE ended and the Commission was dissolved.
On 22 March 2002 the final report as well as the last seven studies and
research contributions were presented to the public. The ICE's homepage
will be maintained under the direction of the Bundeskanzlei.
Requests and suggestions may be addressed to:
Directorate of Political Affairs
TÚl. 0041 (0)31 322 32 47
Fax. 0041 (0)31 324 90 61
most important information at a glance
The Commission was established in December 1996 by a unanimously approved
resolution of the Swiss federal assembly (parliament). Its mandate is
to investigate the volume and fate of assets moved to Switzerland before,
during and immediately after the Second World War from a historical and
legal point of view, and to present a final report by the end of the year
2001 at the latest.
The Commission's mandate covers the gold trading and foreign currency
transactions conducted by the Swiss National Bank and by private commercial
banks. The objects of the investigation are all assets moved to Switzerland
including insurable values and cultural assets, both of the victims of
the Nazi regime as well as of its perpetrators and collaborators. The
relations of Swiss industrial and commercial companies with the National-Socialist
economy especially regarding their involvement in "aryanization
measures" and the exploitation of forced labourers are also examined.
Another key topic is Swiss refuge policy in connection with Switzerland's
economic and financial relations with the Axis powers and the Allies.
The study also includes the post-war period including government measures
for the return of unlawfully acquired assets (Washington Accord 1946,
Resolution the reporting of dormant accounts 1962).
The Commission is an international body with a president, four Swiss and
four non-Swiss members (Britain, Israel, Poland and USA), all of whom
were appointed ad personam on account of their professional expertise.
The investigation centres around Switzerland, but does not concentrate
on the country as an isolated case. Instead it is understood to be part
of an international system shaped during the Second World War by the wartime
and looting economy as well as by the policy of extermination of the National-Socialist
regime. In line with its international orientation the Commission has
research teams working both in Switzerland and abroad. It develops the
topics to be dealt with and its methodology in the context of international
research discussions and maintains contacts with numerous research projects
in Switzerland and other countries.
with authorities and interest groups
The Commission does not number any representatives of Swiss authorities
or interest groups among its members. As such it is an independent body.
Its members carry out their research mandate in full academic autonomy.
The Swiss government is committed to publishing the Commission's reports
in their entirety.
Special legal provisions apply in Switzerland for the Commission's work.
For instance, a general obligation to preserve documents and provide access
to files and documents was imposed, which extends to all files of both
individuals or legal entities deemed relevant to the Commission's research.
Legal and contractual obligations to maintain secrecy were waived with
regard to the Commission and its staff.
The Commission employs around 30 research assistants in Switzerland. It
also has research teams in the USA, Germany and Poland. The Commission's
staff also inspect sources over limited periods in a number
of other countries.
The Swiss parliament has allocated the Commission 22 million Swiss francs
(approx. 15 million US$) for its research purposes and for compilation
of its reports and final report.
of the ICE
general chronology of important events on the issue of looted gold/dormant
accounts can be found on the Internet page
of the Swiss Federal Assembly.
Federal Decree on the Historical and Legal Investigation into the Fate
of Assets which Reached Switzerland as a Result of the National-Socialist
Regime (Appointment of an Independent Commission of Experts). A sum of
5 million francs is granted for the investigation.
Federal Council's Decree (Nomination of the members of the Commission
and of the Chairman; more detailed description of the Commission's research
The research team initiates its work in Bern und Zurich (research director:
Jacques Picard; scientific adviser: Marc Perrenoud; coordinator of the
research in private archives: Benedikt Hauser [until the end of 1999]).
Additional teams take up their work in Germany and in the USA.
Parliamentary information workshop on the «Eizenstat Report»
(Papers presented by Jean-François Bergier and Daniel Thürer).
A contact point is set up for eyewitnesses of the events of the time.
International meeting of various historians and commissions of experts
with similar research missions is held in Ascona.
Presentation of a statistical review with commentary on the gold transactions
conducted by Switzerland during the Second World War (in three languages).
Participation of the ICE at the International Conference on Nazi Gold
held in London.
Parliament grants an additional 17 million franc credit, thus placing
a total of 22 million francs at the disposal of the ICE.
Presentation of the Interim Report «Switzerland and Gold Transactions
in the Second World War» (in four languages).
Creation of the ICE homepage (www.uek.ch).
November3 December 1998
Participation at the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets.
Publication of the abbreviated version of the interim report on gold «Switzerland
and Nazi Gold» (in five languages).
Linus von Castelmur stays on as Secretary General of the Independent Commission
of Experts and assumes additional responsibilities.
Jacques Picard steps down as Research Director.
Presentation of the report «Switzerland and Refugees in the Nazi
Era» (in four languages), together with annexed reports on the transit
of people through Switzerland, on the German ransom demands in occupied
Holland, on refugees as the subject of press coverage, and on the legal
aspects of refugee policy.
Appointment of a troika responsible for the scientific project management
(Stefan Karlen, Martin Meier, Gregor Spuhler).
Joseph Voyame steps down as member of the Commission. He is replaced by
Commission member Sybil Milton passes away. She is replaced by Helen B.
Junz in February 2001.
Publication of a supplementary report (to the Refugee Report) on the Swiss
policy towards «gypsies» during the Nazi era.
Bettina Zeugin replaces Gregor Spuhler in the scientific project management
Appointment of an editorial team for the Final Report (Editing supervision:
Mario König; Co-ordination: Bettina Zeugin).
The contract of Linus von Castelmur as Secretary General is abrogated
with immediate effect. Myrtha Welti is named as new Secretary General
(beginning April 2001).
The Federal Council decided that upon the conclusion of ICE's research,
all copies of files from archives of corporations and associations must
be returned upon the demand of the corporations and associations concerned.
The ICE fights against this decision.
Presentation of the first eight studies: Flight Assets/Looted Assets,
Interhandel, Clearing, Transit, Electricity, Swiss Subsidiary Companies
in the «Third Reich» (2 Studies), Swiss Refugee and Foreign
Economic Policies as covered by the Press.
Presentation of the next ten studies and research contributions: Camouflage/Transfer,
Transit, Trade with Securities, Dormant Accounts, Refugee Policy (reedited
with supplementary information), Research contributions on aspects of
private and public law, the Swiss Land Bank (Bodenkreditanstalt), Swiss-Italian
financial relations, Swiss policy regarding gypsies, and German ransom
demands, (the last two being unchanged re-editions of the complementary
studies which had already appeared as supplements to the Refugee Report).
The Federal Council decides on a «Moratorium» with respect
to the issue of returning documents from archives: The copies are to be
placed in the Federal Archives in April 2002, and upon demand be returned
to corporations and associations until 31 December 2003. Until the end
of the 2003, a solution is also to be found on the issue on the disclosure
of the ICE's research files.
Exactly five years after its appointment, the Commission is officially
received by the Federal Council and is dissolved. On this occasion, the
ICE symbolically presents Federal Councillor Ruth Dreifuss with a copy
of its Final Report.
The five-year appointment of the ICE reaches its expiration date. A winding-up
team remains in place until the end of March 2002 to follow up the publication
of the Final Report in four languages and that of the remaining studies
and contributions, as well as to ensure the organization of the transfer
of working documents and files.
Presentation of the Final Report in four languages, as well as of the
remaining seven research studies and contributions: Swiss foreign economic
policy, Armaments industry/trade in war material, Swiss insurance companies
in the Third Reich, the Swiss financial center, Gold transactions (supplemented
re-edition), Aryanization in Austria, and Franco-Swiss financial relations.
Exposition on the topics of the Final Report to be held in the «Politforum
Käfigturm» in Bern until 29 June 2002.