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Designer of German slave labor reparations dies

BERLIN (JTA) — Otto Graf Lambsdorff, a chief architect of Germany’s landmark slave labor compensation agreement, has died.

Lambsdorff died Saturday at a hospital in Bonn. He was 82.

In 1999, then-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder tapped Lambsdorff as head of the German government delegation in slave-labor compensation talks. In 1988, he had been named chair of the liberal Free Democratic Partyn, his reputation rehabilitated one year after being convicted in a bribery scandal. Lambsdorff served as economics minister in the German government from 1977 to 1984.

"Lambsdorff was instrumental in bringing to culmination a German federal law that [since its enactment in 2000] has … ensured compensation for 1,660,000 survivors of the Nazi regime’s brutal slave and forced labor programs," according to the American Jewish Committee, which issued a statement Monday honoring Lambsdorff.

The AJC called Lambsdorff "one of Germany’s most outstanding politicians of the post-World War II era." He also served on the advisory board of AJC’s Berlin Ramer Institute for German-Jewish Relations.

Charlotte Knobloch, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said Lambsdorff  was "unparalleled" in his influence on politics in general and on Germany’s confrontation with its postwar responsibilities.

 

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