20 February 2004
BERLIN – A court in Berlin Thursday heard the case of two elderly Italian men who are seeking compensation for having been used as forced labourers in Nazi Germany.
In a case which has ramifications for some 4,200 other claimants, the 82- and 83-year-old plaintiffs say they were interned and transported to Germany under orders of Adolf Hitler after Italy capitulated to the Allies 3 September 1943.
The two men, too frail to attend Thursday’s proceedings, say they were underwent physical and psychological abuse at the hands of their captors.
Legal experts give the case little chance of success in Germany, where the federal government has promised to challenge its validity.
Under German law, the two men were prisoners of war and, as such, do not qualify for compensation paid out to civilian slave labourers from occupied countries in eastern Europe.
Subject: German news