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German Court Rules for Jews Who Were Wartime Slave Laborers

A court in the northwest German city of Bremen ruled this week that three Jews assigned to the city as slave laborers for eight months during World War II should be compensated 15,000 marks each – about $9,900.

But the court, in its ruling Monday, sent the case to a federal court in Karlsruhe to decide whether the decision can be applied immediately, or only when formal peace treaties are signed between Germany and its former adversaries.

The former slave laborers who took the city of Bremen to court previously lived in Hungary, Poland and Romania. They had been assigned to construction and cleaning, including removal of debris from bombs.

One of the individuals, LiIa Nemesh, now lives in Ramat Can, Israel.

The accord providing for reparations to Jews who suffered under the Nazis states that any further claims against Germany should be settled only in the framework of a formal peace treaty.

According to observers, this obstacle can be removed by the federal court in Karlsruhe. If the court does so, the three applicants will promptly receive reparations, paving the way for possible similar payments in thousands of other cases.

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