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Yearbook 1996

Switzerland. Did Switzerland escape occupation during the war by being Nazi Germany's financial runners-up? The issue was fueled by new information that Nazi leaders deposited stolen gold worth billions in Swiss banks before the end of the war. Jewish groups demanded that the banks report what European Jews deposited into secret accounts in 1933-45 before falling victim to the Nazi terror. The Jewish World Congress, WJC, believes that the vaults in Switzerland can hide close to seven billion US dollars, hitherto inaccessible to the owners' survivors. Two expert commissions were appointed to seek the missing bank money.

1996 Switzerland

According to, the economy continued at half speed, and the Swiss franc's strong course hampered the competitiveness of exporting companies. Unemployment was set at just over 4%, a figure high for Switzerland. A proposal to increase employment by abolishing the industry's women's ban at night and giving companies the right to freer opening hours was rejected in a referendum in December. Mad Cow Disease (BSE) hit hard on agriculture, and Switzerland was reported to be Europe's worst BSE-affected country after the UK with 230 cases. However, a government proposal for the slaughter of 230,000 cows to eradicate the infection did not go through. Parliament decreed in December that the slaughter of 1,100 animals was enough.

In October, the government decided that Switzerland from 1997 should be part of NATO's Partnership for Peace Partnership Program (PFP).

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