German payouts to forced labourers end

12th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

12 June 2007, Berlin (dpa) - A foundation that supervised lump-sum payouts by the German government and business corporations to 1.7 million survivors of Nazi forced-labour schemes declared the task completed Monday. However controversy has broken out at the Memory, Responsibility and Future Foundation over a German bid to prune the size of its board for its only remaining task, running an educational project. The Berlin foundation, which had 60 staff at the height of its activity, is to have an office wit

12 June 2007

Berlin (dpa) - A foundation that supervised lump-sum payouts by the German government and business corporations to 1.7 million survivors of Nazi forced-labour schemes declared the task completed Monday.

However controversy has broken out at the Memory, Responsibility and Future Foundation over a German bid to prune the size of its board for its only remaining task, running an educational project.

The Berlin foundation, which had 60 staff at the height of its activity, is to have an office with just 20 to 25 staff to run the project with an 8-million-euro (11-million-dollar) annual budget.

Central and eastern European nations have voiced dismay at plans to slim down the board, meaning they can no longer all have a voice in the foundation's affairs as an agency encouraging reconciliation in Europe.

Volker Beck, a German Green and board member who opposes the downsizing of the board, said the issue was to be settled at a meeting in October.

The foundation said Monday its work over seven years had been distinctive for the absence of any of the frauds that have marred other German-funded compensation schemes for victims of the Second World War.

The foundation paid out 4.4 billion euros to former forced and slave labourers now living in 100 nations.

Nazi Germany press-ganged millions of people to work in cruel conditions at its factories and on farms, paying them pittance wages. Concentration camp inmates were used as slaves, paid nothing and worked to death.

German business agreed to pay half the cost of the fund after several major corporations faced lawsuits in US courts.

Payouts were handled via the Jewish Claims Conference, die International Organization for Migration and five foundations in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland and the Czech Republic.

DPA

Subject: German news

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