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Unclaimed Money Throughout History

Over the years, the issue of unclaimed money has been debated again and again. Who does this money belong to? To get a better understanding of the matter, let us understand what exactly is unclaimed money. If a person dyes or vanishes without relatives to claim his or her money and property, then all his possessions are said to be in the unclaimed category.

So does it really happen? Yes. Today many African countries are torn apart by strife. People who were happy and smiling one day vanish the next. All their money remains unclaimed in European or American banks.

Let me quote a classic example of unclaimed money in history. After the devastating Second World War, the Jewish holocaust victims never returned to claim their funds from Swiss banks. All this money by law reverted to the nation and went into the government. All the former soviet allies in the east European region having communist governments also followed the same principals and appropriated the funds for their use.

Almost sixty years later, the Jews demanded this money from the Swiss. They declared that the government had to pay a certain amount as compensation for the funds taken. In reply to this, the Swiss had to pay over a billion dollars to the Jewish people. Today, the Jews have forced many countries to pay back all the money they had taken. Are they right to demand those funds?

There are critics who do not agree with the Jewish people. As I said earlier, unclaimed money are those funds that have not been claimed by any relatives after a person’s death. So what rights do the Jews have to claim money in the name of people dead long time back without any relatives? If communities can make such claims, then all our community members are our relatives and any property we leave on dying without relations and proper setup through a will should revert to the community or society. Meaning which I mean the countries where the communities reside.

However courts in many countries have a law that if a property belongs to somebody then anything and everything on that particular sight belongs to that individual. If this is the case, then the unclaimed funds should rightfully belong to the countries they were invested in. If we follow this principal, then the Jews are making unfounded claims on money they never owned nor earned as individuals.

Do we have an answer? Well, the debate still rages. The Swiss banks paid up the money to the Jews. This proves to some extent that people believe in money for the community. Or was it sympathy? May be they did not want to look hard hearted in front of others.

S. Stammberger is the editor of Unclaimed
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