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Germany

German Government Compensates Nazi Forced Laborers

By the end of the year, the German fund for compensating survivors of Nazi slave labor camps will have paid out about 2.5 billion marks to nearly 600,000 people. Applicants have until December 31 to submit claims.

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ID card of a Nazi forced laborer

The fund called "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future" was established in July 2000 after more than two years of negotiations. Its aim is to compensate surviving Nazi slave laborers – people who were forced to work under abominable conditions during World War two. Half of the money in the 10 billion mark fund will be paid by the government, the other half by 6,500 German companies.

It is estimated that the Nazis enslaved more than 10 million people – foreign civilians and prisoners of war. Those survivors held in camps or ghettos, including many Jews, are entitled to about $7,000 in compensation, while those forced to work in factories will get about $2,200.

The German government agreed to start making payments this year after US courts dropped all suits launched by survivor groups against major German companies.

Survivors can file compensation claims until the end of 2001. They must prove with documentation that they were enslaved by the Nazis.

The Remembrance, Responsibility and Future Fund estimates that about 1.5 million victims of Nazi slave labor have applied for the payment so far. The majority of those receiving compensation are from Eastern Europe.

Poland has received the largest chunk on compensation payment until now. Some 600 million marks were paid out to 229,000 survivors. The Jewish Claims Conference, which is managing compensation claims for 58,000 Jewish victims from various countries, has received 571 million marks.

The Czech Republic has received 200 million marks for 41,000 claims. The Ukraine has received 190 million marks for 65,000 survivors, Belorussia 110,000 million marks for 65,000 claimants, and Russia 19 million for 9,000 victims.

The German government’s representative of the fund, Otto Graf Lambsdorf, told a news conference early this week that it would probably take another two to three years before the entire sum, 10 billion marks, was paid out to all the survivors.

Helpful information

For help filing a claim, survivors should contact partner organization in their home countries. A list of these organizations can be found the in information sheets published by the compensation fund.

Remembrance, Responsibility and Future Fund
Büro Berlin
Haus der Deutschen Wirtschaft
Breite Str. 29
D - 10493 Berlin
Callcenter: +49 30-20609-200
Fax: +49 30-20609-103, -104, -105
e-mail: info@stiftungsinitiative.de

International Organization for Migration
(helps process claims for property losses suffered under the Nazis as a result of direct participation of German companies)

P.O. Box 71
CH-1211 Genf 19
Tel.: +41-22-717-9230
Fax: +41-22-798-6150
E-Mail: compensation@iom.int

Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany For applicants living in Europe:
Sophienstrasse 26
D - 60487 Frankfurt am Main
Tel: +49-69-97 07 08-0
Fax: +49-69-97 07 08-11
E-Mail: matschke@claimscon.de

For applicants living in Israel:
18, Gruzenberg Street
Tel Aviv 65251
Israel
Tel: 00 972-3-5179247
Fax: 00 972-3-5100906
E-Mail: hy@claimscon.org.il

For applicants living in the USA and the rest of the Americas:
15, East 26th Street

New York, NY 10010
USA
Tel: 001-212-696 49 44
Fax: 001-212-679 21 26
E-Mail: info@claimscon.org

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