Bergier Commission: Independent Commission of Experts Switzerland, Second World War (ICE)
1996 - 2001
The Independent Commission of Experts Switzerland, Second World War (ICE), known as the "Bergier Commission", was an international body set up in 1996 by a resolution of the Swiss Federal Assembly to carry out historical research into the quantity of assets imported into Switzerland before, during and after World War II. The members of the Independent Commission included Jean-François Bergier, (Chairman), Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, Saul Friedländer, Harold James, Helen B. Junz, Georg Kreis, Jacques Picard, Jakob Tanner, Daniel Thürer, and Myrtha Welti (Secretary General).
The areas of investigation covered gold and foreign currency transactions, industrial relations between Switzerland and Germany in that period, as well as the transfer of cultural assets belonging to the victims of Nazi Germany to the Nazis and their collaborators. The role of Switzerland as an art-dealing centre and conduit for cultural assets in the Nazi period and in the immediate post-war period was examined by a team under the directorship of Professor Georg Kreis. The investigation focussed on the owners of cultural property as well as on those who exploited it: dealers, collectors, and museums.
In 1998 the Commission participated in the Washington Conference on Holocaust-era Assets.
On 30 August 2001 the Commission presented its first eight studies which included the report on cultural property published in book form as: Fluchtgut-Raubgut. Der Transfer von Kulturgütern in und über die Schweiz 1933-1945 und die Frage der Restitution (Flight Assets/Looted Assets: The Transfer of Cultural Assets to and through Switzerland from 1933 to 1945, and the Problem of Restitution), Esther Tisa Francini, Anja Heuss, Georg Kreis Publications of the Independent Commission of Experts Switzerland-Second World War, Vol. 1, Pendo Editions, Zürich 2001. A summary of the report is available online at http://www.uek.ch/en/schlussbericht/Publikationen/zusammenfassungen/01fluchtgut.htm
The Commission was dissolved on 19 December 2001. The Final Report into the fate of assets which reached Switzerland was presented in March 2002 and included all the issues covered by the Commission's research. A summary of the Final Report and the Final Report are available online and by clicking on the titles in this sentence. The Final Report was also published in book form: Switzerland, National Socialism and the Second World War: Final Report, Independent Commission of Experts Switzerland-Second World War, Pendo Editions, Zürich 2002.
Requests for information should be forwarded to:
EDA, Centre of Analysis and Prospective Studies
and Service for Historical Matters
Tel: +41 (0) 31 325 8157
Fax: +41 (0) 31 324 9061
Independent Commission of Experts Switzerland, Second World War (ICE) http://www.uek.ch/en/, accessed 25 January 2010.