By most accounts, Edgar Bronfman, the Seagrams heir and former head of the World Jewish Congress, was the hero of the historic Swiss bank deal. He is widely credited with launching the initiative that eventually led Swiss banks to agree to a $1.25 billion settlement to resolve claims that they hoarded bank accounts opened by Jews who were murdered by the Nazis.
But with the death of Richard Holbrooke last week has come fresh details of the U.S. diplomat’s pivotal and secret efforts in 1996 to convince Swiss banks to take the steps that led to that settlement.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Richard Holbrooke, the legendary U.S. diplomat who brokered a Balkan peace and who enjoyed talking about his Jewish roots, has died.
Holbrooke, who was the Obama administration's envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan when he died, suffered a torn aorta on Friday and was hospitalized. The State Department announced his death on Monday. He was 69.