Swiss Borders With Austria Sealed to Keep Out Jews Fleeing Persecution Hot

Swiss Borders With Austria Sealed to Keep Out Jews Fleeing Persecution

Nazi Humiliation of Jews in Vienna, Austria, 1938

The Swiss government seals its borders with Austria to prevent a large influx of Austrian Jews fleeing persecution under the new Nazi government. Several thousand will be smuggled across the border, evading the Swiss border guards.

Colonel Paul Gruninger, a senior officer of the Swiss police, will ignore the orders of the government to bar entry to Jews without a visa. As police chief of the Swiss border canton of St. Gallen, he will turn a blind eye as several thousand Jews enter Switzerland illegally.

For saving so many Jews from the Nazi death camps, Gruninger will be dismissed from his post, spend time in jail, and lose his pension. For the rest of his life, his criminal record will make it difficult for him to make a living.


Switzerland's tarnished wartime record

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