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U.S. Court in Germany to Hear Claim of Jewish Slave Laborer

October 20, 1953
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The United States High Court in Mannheim today accepted jurisdiction in a $200,000 suit for damages and back pay filed against the IG Farben chemical trust by Private First Class Rudolf Wachsmann, onetime slave laborer at the IG Farben synthetic rubber plant at Monowitz which employed inmates of the Oswiecim concentration camp.

Judge Paul Madden ruled that the court was competent because one party in the action is a member of the Allied forces – Pfc. Wachsmann is a member of the U.S. occupation force in Germany. The judge ordered IG Farben lawyers to submit their reply to Pfc. Wachsmann’s original brief within ten days.

The ruling came while the judge was listening to a deposition by Pfc. Wachsmann, whose return to the U.S. has been delayed by his appearance in court. Pfc. Wachsmann testified that, because he was Jewish, he had been arrested in the town of Oppeln, in Upper Silesia, when he was not yet 14 years old. In 1943 he was transferred to the camp at Oswiecim and assigned to the Monowitz plant. He remained there until 1945, was then shipped to Buchenwald and liberated by American troops. He immigrated to the United States under the DP Immigration Act and was drafted into the Army last year.

His mother, father and brother were killed by the Nazis. He himself suffered beatings and tortures, including hanging by the wrists in mid-air, as well as two skull fractures, two broken ribs, a broken arm, and a broken leg. His American attorneys are asking the court to award him $180,000 in damages, interest, costs and attorneys’ fees for permanent impairment of body and mind, and a further $18,000 in back pay.

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