Germany has created a special foundation that will pay up to $5 billion to nearly a million survivors who worked as slaves and forced laborers under the Nazis, the Washington Post reported July 17.
Representatives from Germany, the U.S., Israel and Eastern Europe signed the final documents in Berlin. The agreement ends nearly two years of negotiations prompted by threats of class-action lawsuits against German firms.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said the new fund, to be called “Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future,” will accept applications immediately and expects to make its first payments by the end of the year.
Germany has already paid out $60 billion in reparations to victims of the Nazi regime since World War II, a sum estimated at $100 billion in current money.
The laborers, however, were mainly non-Jews from Eastern Europe. They never received any personal compensation because the communist governments of the Cold War era pocketed any money received from Germany.
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