Swiss bank security guard travels home with lawyer

ZURICH — The former Swiss security guard who saved Holocaust-era documents from the teeth of a shredder is back in Switzerland for the first time since he fled the country.

Christoph Meili and his wife, Giuseppina, have returned to Switzerland for the first time since April 1997, when they left the country for the United States.

Working as a guard at the Union Bank of Switzerland, Meili had noticed a pile of documents sitting by the bank's shredder. For turning the documents over to the Swiss Jewish community, he was fired from his job and publicly criticized by top bank officials.

Meili, who moved his family to the United States after saying he had received death threats in Switzerland, filed a lawsuit against the bank in January for $60 million in compensatory damages and $2.5 billion in punitive damages.

Accompanied by his lawyer, Ed Fagan, Meili is back in Switzerland trying to prove that the documents he saved from the shredder pertained to Jewish-owned buildings that had been confiscated by the Nazis.

Meili, who is now working as a security guard in New York City, told a television station in Switzerland that he would consider coming back to the country "but not before a year or two."

Meili also traveled this week to Berlin where he wants to search archives.

"I want to finish my mission in proving that the documents shredded by the UBS showed property of Holocaust victims," Meili said.