Swiss Jewish leader mourned

By Jennifer Lipman, June 29, 2010
Alfred Donath: described as a role model

Alfred Donath: described as a role model

The former president of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG) has died in hospital at 78.

Alfred Donath, a professor of nuclear medicine, was a tireless campaigner for Jewish causes.

He headed SIG from 2000 until 2008, and was committed to the organisation for many years before that.

Among the issues he championed was the campaign to help the relatives of Nazi victims retrieve money from Swiss banks.

He was the SIG vice president in 1998 when the banks finally reached an out-of-court settlement and paid heirs more than £800 million.

The son of a rabbi in Basel, Professor Donath originally trained as a paediatric specialist in France.

A SIG spokesperson paid tribute to Professor Donath’s work and said he would remain a role model for others.

“His courageous dedication to Jewish community concerns and to interfaith dialogue will not be forgotten.

“He was characterised by his modesty, optimism, cosmopolitanism, congeniality and respect for other human beings.”

He is survived by his wife and five children.

Last updated: 4:42pm, June 29 2010