Daughter of Holocaust victim to challenge other Swiss banks

NEW YORK (JTA) — After agreeing to a settlement with Credit Suisse, the daughter of a Holocaust victim who was denied access to her father's accounts now plans to take on other Swiss banks.

The lawyer for Estelle Sapir, 71, of Queens, N.Y., was planing to ask the Claims Resolution Tribunal this week to adjudicate her claims against other Swiss banks that have also stonewalled her attempts to recover her father's money. The tribunal was established to handle claims on dormant accounts in Swiss banks.

"Her claim against the Union Bank of Switzerland is bigger than the one against Credit Suisse," said Sapir's attorney, Edward Fagan.

Fagan would not disclose the amount of the Credit Suisse settlement, but it is believed to be between $300,000 and $500,000.

The settlement was the first approved by a federal court involving a plaintiff in the class-action lawsuits filed by Holocaust survivors and the heirs of victims against Swiss banks for allegedly hoarding money deposited by Jews who later perished in the Holocaust.

Sapir said she was "exhausted" by the battle to recover her father's money. She said she doesn't eat and that her weight has dropped from 110 to 65 pounds.

When she receives her settlement check from Credit Suisse, she hopes to move out of her one-room apartment into a larger residence.

Sapir's story of being turned away by Credit Suisse when she sought to withdraw her father's money after the war was among the most poignant heard during a Senate banking committee hearing last year.

"They demanded that I give them my father's death certificate," recalled Sapir, 71, who said she could see her father's bank records on the bank officer's desk. "But Hitler didn't give me a death certificate."