TORONTO (Dec. 7)
The United Restitution Organization (URO) in Toronto and Montreal is reminding former slave laborers who worked in the factories of Flick-Dynamit-Nobel during World War II that they have until December 31 to file compensation claims.
The giant Flick conglomerate, now known as Feldmuhle Nobel A-G, was taken over last year by the Deutsche Bank, which made available a lump sum fund of 5 million Deutschmarks to be used as compensation for slave labor.
John Stahr of Montreal’s URO office cautions, however, that these payments are for labor, not for persecution. Stahr said all claims must be fully documented and applicants must prove they worked in the factories of Flick, which manufactured everything from explosives to toilet paper, but the bulk of the payments will go to survivors who worked in the company’s munitions factories.
The best way to document claims, Stahr said, is to enclose proof that restitution for persecution has already been made by the West German government. If someone survived a certain concentration camp and was compensated for it 20 years ago, Stahr gave as an example, he or she very likely would have been put to work in a Flick factory and is eligible for slave labor compensation.
URO has a list of camps whose inmates were made to work for Flick or one of its subsidiaries. However, one slave labor camp — Malchow in Germany — was left off the original eligibility list. Anyone who was in Malchow is probably eligible for compensation, Stahr said.
Other German conglomerates that employed slave labor during the war — such as I.G. Farben, Krupp and Siemens — have already paid out compensation, Stahr added.
PAYMENTS ARE STILL OUTSTANDING
Payments from Flick-Dynamit-Nobel are still outstanding because the company’s founder, Friedrich Flick, put off paying compensation repeatedly, until he died in 1972 at age 90. It was only after the Deutsche Bank bought controlling interest in the company in the largest corporate takeover in German history, that compensation payments were approved, at the urging of the New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference).
Stahr said restitution is also available for anyone who was sent to Siberia by the Soviet government, as a result of fleeing the Nazis.
There is no deadline for such claims. Although official proof is difficult to acquire, Stahr said other forms of proof could include: a postmark (cancelled stamp) of the place of imprisonment, showing also the addressee’s name, or ideally, a marriage certificate or a birth certificate of a child born in the place in question.
Stahr also said that although no new pensions are being considered by the West German government, someone who is already receiving a pension may apply for an increase if his or her health is deteriorating.
Claims may be made directly by writing Compensation Trauhand, Gruneburfweg 119,6000 Frankfurt, West Germany. All claims must contain information on time, place and circumstances of the forced labor, as well as proof of previous restitution for persecution.
In Canada, Stahr said, contact the URO office in Montreal, (514) 844-2821 or in Toronto, (416) 630-2920.