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Bertelsmann AG to Join Compensation Fund for Nazi-Era Slave Laborers

HeadlineMar 21, 2000

Thomas Middelhoff, chief executive of Bertelsmann AG said yesterday the German media giant will join a 10 billion mark, or $5 billion, compensation fund for Nazi-era slave laborers. The outline of the fund, which aims to compensate survivors of concentration camps and forced work schemes, was agreed late last year, but the German government and survivors groups are still in intense negotiations to decide the details. Middelhoff said there was no evidence to show the firm employed forced labor or slave laborers under Adolf Hitler, and the contribution was not an admission of guilt. Some 65 top German firms, including blue chips like Siemens, Volkswagen, DaimlerChrysler, launched the fund after legal threats and warnings they may face trade sanctions in the United States. Industry will pay five billion marks under the settlement, while Germany must pay the equal sum from the public purse for its contribution.

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