A deal reached December 14 by U.S. and German negotiators will establish a $5.2 billion fund to compensate hundreds of thousands of people forced to work for the Nazis and German companies during World War II. After months of negotiations, the breakthrough came after the German government said it would increase its $1.6 billion offer, augmenting $2.6 billion already pledged by industry.
The $5.2 billion offer matches demands made by lawyers earlier this week _ including the establishment of a $520 million fund by U.S. companies that had German operations during the war.
Germany has already made about $60 billion in payments for war crimes, but there has never been compensation for the estimated 12 million enslaved and forced workers. Anywhere from 1.5 million to 2.3 million people still alive would be eligible for compensation, mostly non_Jews living in eastern Europe.
Forced laborers will be paid between $2,600 and $3,125, while slave laborers who were held in concentration camps would receive about $7,800.
Source: AP, (12/15/99)