The Guardian

Banking and slavery: Switzerland examines its colonial conscience

BLM protests and fresh historical evidence are raising questions over the legacy of the founder of modern Switzerland, Alfred Escher
The statue of Alfred Escher has stood outside Zurich’s main train station for more than 100 years, but may not be there much longer. Photograph: imageBROKER/Alamy

Alfred Escher wielded so much power and influence during his lifetime that he was nicknamed King Alfred I. An immense bronze statue of modern Switzerland’s founding father stands, fittingly, in front of Zurich’s main train station. Escher was a politician, but he was also an entrepreneur who founded the country’s railway network along with its leading university and the banking giant Credit Suisse.

The statue in Zurich has memorialised Escher for more than 100 years, but it may not be there much longer. A recently published on Zurich’s involvement in slavery details problematic connections to Escher. The Escher dynasty owned a coffee plantation in Cuba with more than 80 slaves and

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