Christoph Meili learned early to be suspicious. To classmates who tease him because he is the only one who is circumcised. Opposite so-called safe values such as marriage. His parents divorce when he is ten years old.
A bright room on the ground floor in a shopping street in Sirnach TG. Christoph Meili, 50 years old, offers coffee and braid. On the wall behind him are words in gold letters: "Devotion", "Eternal Life", "Patience". Members of a small free church, including Meili, meet here twice a week.
With a sharp eye and a fixed voice, he tells what happened in 1997. It sounds like it was a few weeks ago.
«I was suspicious»
As a 29-year-old guard, Meili wants to extinguish the light in a shredder room of the Swiss Bank Corporation – later called UBS. He discovers suspicious files. Meili knows that a new law prohibits banks from submitting documents to destroy the wartime. He takes some bank books with him. "I was suspicious," says Meili, "and thought it was right." He asks the "Tages-Anzeiger" that nobody has time. So he hands over the papers of the Jewish Community of Zurich and thinks the story ends there. But she starts first.
Meili comes in public, is celebrated as a hero. The wind turns like a Jewish wind Organization awards him a prize and promises money for legal costs. "Everyone thought: Aha, he has money from them Get Jews. » Meili loses his job and goes to the US with his family.
There he supports American lawyers and politicians in their lawsuit against Switzerland. Now the whole country is discussing the question of how Switzerland enriched Jewish possessions and property during the Second World War. With that, Meili will certainly cause nuisance to many of his compatriots.
His return to Switzerland
After eleven years in the US he returned to Switzerland in 2009 without a dime and enrolled at the social services office in Sirnach TG. "I know that there are people who can not understand what I've done"says Meili. "But I do not have to convince her anymore". His wife Nadja von Arx is present during the conversation and radiates calm. "Christoph has become more relaxed, softer," she says.
Nadja is his third wife
It is the third marriage for Meili. The children from their first marriage, Davide and Mirjam, grew up in the US – "in freedom," he says. "They would have been flogged in Switzerland." Davide, 25, works at the US Air Force and is based in Ramstein, southern Germany. Mirjam, 27, lives in Nevada. Both visited Meili in Switzerland this year. The son of his second marriage, Simon, Meili, has been seen through Skype for nine years. "He is now 14, he wonders why I am not with him. That's difficult. »
But Meili certainly does not want to go back to the US. He now lives in Wil SG and has been married to Nadja von Arx for five years. They have known each other for 30 years. But it was not until Meili and she attended the same service in 2009 that a friendship began. "And then …", Christoph Meili laughs. "I can discuss everything with her, she has what I do not do have and vice versa. »
Previously, he once had a younger girlfriend, he says. "But she wanted fun, that's nothing for me, I lead a silence Life. " Nadja von Arx says that the calm nature of Meili and his gray-blue eyes pleased her. "And his sense of justice, honesty."
Only – that is not how Meilis sees it in his life. The time he received death threats is over. But he will continue to discriminate. Especially when looking for a job, his past was a disadvantage. "I apply everywhere. But often after the invitation comes a conversation: are you the Christoph Meili? And when I got a job, the employee suddenly said to me for customers: "I know who you are, you are this traitor!"
When Christoph Meili told such things – tell someone how he wanted to throw him out of a Wiler restaurant and tell how the local press wanted him to photograph during occupational therapy – it is again noticeable: this feeling of "one to all, "this mistrust." For his Facebook profile he has selected a photo of the artist Banksy: Jesus carries the cross, followed by a group of journalists.
«I do not have to prove anything today»
Is Christoph Meili really ready with all insults and injustices? "Today I have nothing left prove it, "he says. Also that he participates in the documentary "The Affair Meili", which now runs in Swiss cinemas, later has nothing to do with revenge. «The production company had me before "Now, 20 years after the events that changed his life, he thought," I can also say something. "
Meili will not be public again in the longer term. "I am happy as it is now." He demanded psychological guidance that showed him "that I am normal! And I found peace thanks to Jesus."
Religion connects him with his wife. "Forgiveness plays a big role for him », says Nadja von Arx. "Especially when it bubbles from the inside."
The internet does not forget anything
He also made mistakessays Meili. Published during his time in America he posted harmful videos on YouTube about his new life in the US, which did not improve his reputation in Switzerland. "than I experimented, "he says." Until I realized: once on the internet, always on the internet. "
He was only young and stubborn at that time. That it was good to get the files out of the bank's destruction space, he is still convinced. "I could help Holocaust victims, that means a lot to me."
When he is confronted again with people for whom he remains a traitor, he sometimes just thinks: "Lord, forgive them, for they know not what they do."