German Humanitarian Foundation Starts Compensation Payments To Victims Of Nazism

A German foundation-Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future-has started compensation payments to surviving prisoners of German concentration camps and ghettos and people subjected to forced labor by German companies during the National Socialist era. The foundation is now distributing compensations among a group of 184 Lithuanian residents. This is according to Tatiana Malysheva, chairwoman of the Russia-based Understanding and Reconciliation foundation, which assists its German partner in collecting information about residents of the now defunct Soviet Union who suffered as Nazi prisoners or slave laborers during WWII. Ms. Malyshev reports that the payments began in Lithuania on December 20 this year, thanks to the two foundations' joint effort. The first 184 recipients will get a total of DM 801,120. Some 20,000 residents of Lithuania have applied for compensation by now, and many more applications are coming. Similar compensatory payments have begun in Russia, to find their way to some 6,147 applicants, says Ms. Malysheva. The payments are to be made in two stages. At the first stage, persons who were held in Nazi concentration camps and ghettos will be eligible to receive 50 percent of the DM 15,000 allocated for each. The first stage is to be completed by the end of 2002, with all remaining payments to be made in 2003. The amount appropriated by the Remembrance, Reponsibility and the Future foundation for compensatory payments in Russia totals DM 835 million. If this money is not enough to go round, only prisoners of concentration camps and ghettos will receive their compensations in full. Those who suffered as forced or slave laborers will be eligible to receive up to 65 percent of the original amount, depending on the total number of applications submitted. According to preliminary estimates, the total number of compensation applicants will be 400,000 to 500,000, Ms. Malysheva reports. The Russian Foundation for Understanding and Reconciliation will accept applications for compensation through December 31, 2001.

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