Jews were first mentioned in Basle in 1213. It seems clear that the first Jews came from Alsace and southern Germany, on the one hand, and France, on the other. Up to World War II, the Jewish population remained small in relation to the general population. During the war, the government was concerned about foreigners inundating the country, and took the position that the country would serve as a transit point only. Ultimately, about 25,000 Jews were able to take refuge in Switzerland during the war. When the war ended, almost all these refugees left the country. At present, about 18,000 Jews live in Switzerland, primarily in Zurich, Geneva and Basle.
Encyclopedia Judaica, CD-Rom Edition, Keter Publishing
Copyright © 1998-99 Edward Victor