German Trust Fights Compensation to Jewish Ex-slave Laborers

The Hesse Court of Appeals heard yesterday an appeal by IG Farben against a verdict of a lower German court awarding Norbert Wollheim, a Jewish ex-slave laborer of the Nazis, the equivalent of $2,500 in damages and back wages for the time he worked at the company’s synthetic rubber plans at Monowitz, near the notorious Osweicim death camp. The court adjourned until March 15, when it may either hand down its decision or decide to hear witnesses and review evidence presented at the earlier trial.

In view of the issues involved in the case, the appellate court’s decision is certain to be carried to the West German Supreme Court by one party or the other. More than 2,200 ex-slave laborers, who have filed claims for damages and wages, which were paid to the Nazi Elite Guard organization by IG Farben, have agreed to abide by the results of the Wollheim test case. If the final decision goes against the company millions of dollars may have to be paid out.

Mr. Wollheim, who now lives in New York, was forced to work in the Osweicim camp or at the IG Farben plant from 1943 to 1945 when United States troops liberated the camp. After the war, he was a leader of Jews in the British zone of Germany, later migrating to the United States.

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