More than 130,000 former Nazi-era slave laborers from 65 countries have received cash payments from the Austrian government since the beginning of compensation efforts five years ago, according to a report released Monday.
A total of 131,578 people who were forced to work for Austria's Nazi occupiers during World War II have shared Ђ352 million (US$425 million), said Hubert Feichtlbauer, a researcher who has tracked the progress of the Austrian Fund for Reconciliation, Peace and Cooperation launched in 2000.
Critics contend it should not have taken Austria 55 years to compensate former slave laborers who endured hardship and misery under the Nazis.
Feichtlbauer's findings have been published as a book and on a CD-ROM designed to be used in schools to teach children of the horrors of war, reports the AP.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated