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Wednesday, August 18, 1999 Published at 19:55 GMT 20:55 UK

World: Europe

Fund for Nazi slave labourers

Pickets carried banners saying "No forgiveness"

Shareholders of the German chemical company, IG Farben, have voted to go ahead with plans for a compensation fund for former slave labourers under the Nazis.

The chemical giant made Zyklon-B, the gas used to kill Jews in the concentration camps.

Shareholders at a meeting in Frankfurt voted to set up a million pound fund to pay several hundred survivors.

[ image: Shareholders have bowed to pressure]
Shareholders have bowed to pressure
The first payments will go to former slave labourers over 80 who were at the Auschwitz death camp.

But Holocaust survivor groups called the company's offer "ridiculously low."

Peter Gingold, an 83 year old survivor, said: "Regardless of the fund, there will be no peace with IG Farben. The company's shares are sticky with blood."

Although it is no longer trading, protesters want the company wound up and its assets, worth more than $11m, distributed between the victims of its wartime activities.

Shareholders' meetings have sparked regular protests in recent years.

[ image: Former slave labourers will get the first payments]
Former slave labourers will get the first payments
After the war, the allies split the firm up into several other chemical companies but IG Farben remained, dealing mainly in property.

At Auschwitz, IG Farben ran a slave labour plant using 83,000 people at its peak in 1944.

Pressure on IG Farben has grown since last year when major German companies set up a compensation fund in the hope of stopping legal action in the United States.

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