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German Armament Firm Votes to Reject Claims of Former Slave Laborers

March 11, 1966
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

B’nai B’rith revealed today that the Rheinmetall Company, a German armaments producer under consideration by the Pentagon to share in a $70,000,000 gun contract, had sent “feelers” offering to settle claims made against it by former slave laborers of the Nazi era.

But the company later acted to reaffirm its continued refusal to negotiate a compensation settlement for some 1,000 persons, many of them now American citizens, who are the survivers among concentration camp inmates hired by Rheinmetall from the Nazi SS for forced labor.

Dr. William A. Wexler, president of B’nai B’rith, reported these facts to the executive committee of the B’nai B’rith International Council during its meeting here; He said that overtures for a settlement had been received by the Jewish service organization shortly after it had publicly protested last month to the State and Defense Departments, opposing a prospective contract in which Rheinmetall would participate in the manufacture of 20-mm machine guns for purchase by the Army.

But on March 1, Dr. Wexler added, Rheinmetall’s directors, meeting at the company’s headquarters in Dusseldorf, again voted to reject any financial responsibility for wartime use of slave labor in its plants; B’nai B’rith last week repeated to the State Department and the Pentagon its “serious objection to any action by our Government that might reward an industrial organization unwilling to adhere to a well-established principle of human rights.”

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