Slave Labour

Slave Labour - the extended deadline for filing claims to the German Foundation expired on 31 December 2002

Created in German law in July 2000 the Foundation: Remembrance, Responsibility and Future – a German enterprise comprising the Federal government and several thousands private and public German companies, DM 10 billion (approx. £3.3 billion) was pledged to pay compensation to Nazi victims used as slave and forced labourers during the Second World War. The reparations were distributed through seven partner agencies and Jewish victims living in the United Kingdom received indemnification via the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference).

Out of worldwide total of 130,000, 850 UK Jewish Holocaust survivors received payment via the Claims Conference in recognition of the slave labour they performed under Nazi occupation. The precise amount each survivor received depends on the exchange rate at the time the payment was remitted but under the terms of the German Foundation each former slave labourer was entitled to receive DM 15,000 (approx. £5,000). This amount was paid in two instalments – DM 10,000 and DM 5,000.

In addition to these awards former labourers were entitled to receive modest payments from the Swiss Banks Settlement as a further recognition of the experiences. Each Nazi victim was paid $1,450 with some survivors receiving the amount in one lump sum and others in two instalments; $1,000 and then $450.

As well as the survivors of the camps who performed slave and forced labour, certain heirs were entitled to receive compensation if the survivor passed away on or after 16 February 1999. Claims by heirs are currently being settled – for more information click here (which takes you through to the attached)

Also entitled to payments from the German Foundation were victims of Nazi medical experiments. By the end of April 2005, the Claims Conference made second round payments to 2,432 Jewish victims of Nazi medical experiments. These survivors will now receive $3,200 (approximately £1,800 or €2,450) in addition to the $5,400 they each received last year. More than $12.5 million was earmarked from the Foundation to pay victims of medical experiments, who today live in 33 countries.

Running at the same time as the German slave and forced labour compensation programme the Austrian Reconciliation Fund for which the final deadline to apply was 31 December 2005. The Fund's remit was to, “make voluntary payments to former slave and forced labourers of the National Socialist regime on the territory of present-day Austria” and eligibility for payments from the Austrian Reconciliation Fund, which was endowed with €436m or £300m, was extended to child Holocaust survivors who were forced to watch their close relatives scrubbing the streets as a measure of Nazi persecution in Vienna and other Austrian cities.

Otherwise applications to the Fund were divided into one of three categories:

  1. Forced labour in agriculture and forestry or in the form of personal services (households, hotels, etc.)
  2. Forced labour in industry, business, construction, electric power enterprises and in other business enterprises, in public institutions, at the railroads (“Reichsbahn”) or postal services (“Reichspost”)
  3. Slave labour (work under inhumane conditions while under detention in a concentration camp-like place of confine