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Holocaust Group Helps 5,000 People

April 7, 1998

BERN, Switzerland (AP) _ A private foundation set up last year by Swiss celebrities has distributed $530,000 to about 5,000 Holocaust survivors, its founders said Tuesday.

The Foundation for Humanity and Justice has helped 18 Jewish organizations, many of them in Eastern Europe, said its president, socialist lawmaker Gian-Reto Platter.

The foundation supported a program to feed destitute Holocaust victims in Ukraine and a Swiss-based organization that gives medical help to Poles who helped save Jews during World War II.

The fund, intended to bring help to Holocaust survivors and heirs ``as quickly and unbureaucratically as possible,″ will complement rather than rival a $190 million fund set up by the major Swiss banks to help destitute Holocaust survivors, Platter said.

Madeleine Kunin, the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, praised the private foundation as part of ``the humanitarian tradition of Switzerland.″

The foundation includes renowned architect Mario Botta; author Alfred Haesler, a prominent critic of Swiss policy toward refugees, a leading bishop, Josef Gandolfi, and other known historians and academics.

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