After months of negotiations, representatives of former slave laborers and of the German corporations they were forced to work for during the Holocaust will begin a two-day conference today at the State Department to resolve the question of how to compensate as many as 2.4 million survivors.
The companies, which include DaimlerChrysler, Daimler-Benz and Bayer, are expected to offer between $3.8 and $4.4 billion, but lawyers representing the survivors have threatened to walk out of the talks unless the companies offer “real money”–something closer to $30 billion. The companies have already said that they will not offer anything close to that sum.
Also on the table is how much German insurance and banking interests will pay for their role in appropriating assets from Holocaust victims.
- Wolfgang Gibowski, chief negotiator for the German companies that have a foundation initiative, which will be called “Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future.” Speaking from Washington, DC.
- Rudy Kennedy, former slave laborer who worked for “Volkeswagen” and IG Farben (IG Farben was liquidated after the war–most of its executives were convicted of war crimes–the company spun off into three other corporations: Bayer, Hoechst and BASS, which are now involved in the talks). He now heads the “Claims for Jewish Slave Labor Compensation” in Britain. Speaking from Washington, DC.
- Jerry Blumenfeld, former slaver laborer who worked for Krupps, known in the US for manufacturing coffee makers. He did construction work for the company. Krupps was prohibited by the Versailles Treaty from making weapons but violated the treaty and during the second World War became the largest producer of weapons in Germany. Speaking from Washington, DC.