Around 1943, in Poland, a Jewish industrialist, his wife and two children were roused in the middle of the night and loaded onto a train bound they-knew-not-where. The father whispered to his teen-age daughter, “Don’t worry, your wedding dowry is in Switzerland.”

The children survived the war, but the Swiss bank wouldn’t hand over the family’s account. The girl married, despite her lack of a dowry, and raised a family in America. Last year, she tried to collect her dowry from the Claims Resolution Tribunal for Dormant Accounts in Switzerland, a new body set up by Swiss banks under international pressure.

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