Study: Liechtenstein has mixed record on WWII efforts

vaduz, liechtenstein (ap) | Some 400 Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis found safety in Liechtenstein during World War II, but an unknown number were turned back from the neutral alpine principality to face likely death, a historical study concluded last week.

Liechtenstein fared better in the review than neighboring Switzerland did in a similar study several years ago, but the report found fault with the principality’s royal family.

The family of Liechtenstein’s Prince Franz Josef II bought property and art objects taken from Jews in Austria and Czechoslovakia and rented Jewish inmates from a Nazi SS concentration camp near Vienna for forced labor on nearby royal estates, the study said.

Sandwiched between neutral Switzerland and Nazi-controlled Austria, Liechtenstein had little room to maneuver, it said. Some influential people in the country sympathized with the Nazis.

“Liechtenstein’s refugee policy was largely determined by and coordinated with that of Switzerland,” said the report.

The Swiss accepted about 27,000 Jewish refugees during the war and turned back a similar number, Swiss historians have said. Liechtenstein allowed 144 Jews to become citizens “in return for high fees” during the Nazi era, the study said.