FRANKFURT (Jul. 31)
A special shareholders meeting of the IG-Farben chemical corporation will be convened in the near future, probably next month, to approve a $7,150,000 settlement of all claims from slave laborers exploited by the firm during the war in the synthetic rubber plant at Buna-Monowitz, it was revealed here today by corporation president Dr. Walter Schmidt.
Negotiations between the directors of the firm and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany reached a concrete stage early this year and it is understood that a mutually acceptable draft accord may be concluded within the next six weeks, which case ratification will be sought from the shareholders’ meeting. Should agreement with the Conference be delayed, the shareholders will be asked to authorize the directors’ signature of a settlement of the $7,150,000.
The difficulties that still stand in the way of a contract between IG-Farben and the Claims Conference are believed to be concerned not primarily with the amount to be made available, but with such questions as the eligibility for compensation of deceased slave laborers’ dependents and the guarantee, upon which IG-Farben insists, that no other claims or suits will be filed after the $7,150,000 has been paid.
When some shareholders protested at the regular annual meeting against the willingness of the IG Farben management to enter into a settlement, Dr. Schmidt explained that, unless such an agreement is reached, the Wolheim test suit against IG-Farben might not be finally decided in the courts until 1961 or later. While the litigation is in progress, he pointed out, IG-Farben cannot proceed with its plan to issue new Huels Holding Company shares in exchange for the present IG-Farben “liquidation shares.” The IG-Farben corporation, which upon Allied insistence has been in the process of liquidation for a number of years, still lists undistributed assets of $85,000,000.
Norbert Wollheim, a former Jewish slave laborer and now a New York resident, won a civil suit for $2,400 in back pay and damages through a 1953 lower court decision, which. IG-Farben appealed. The Frankfurt Superior Court heard the case in early 1955 and has had it under advisement ever since. It urged both parties to seek a compromise settlement The final adjudication of the Wolheim suit has been accepted by the IG-Farben trust as binding the 2,400 other claims filed in the meantime.