Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, November 16, 1999 Published at 15:48 GMT


UK PoWs seek Nazi compensation

Former prisoners in mainland Europe have been offered compensation

A group representing UK World War II veterans is flying to Bonn to pressure the German Government into compensating British prisoners forced into slave labour by the Nazis.

A delegation representing former British prisoners of war, including Poles and Ukrainians who fought for Britain, is seeking a compensation package in line with that offered to former forced workers from other countries.

Germany increased its offer to Jewish, Polish and Ukrainian slave labourers to nearly £2bn on Monday, but so far has promised nothing for British PoWs forced to work during the 1939-1945 war.

The meeting coincides with a legal case being launched in California on behalf of British Poles against several German companies, including Daimler Chrysler, Bayer, Thyssen Krupp and Hoechst.

Legal pressure

The claimants are demanding compensation for the thousands of Poles forced into slave labour who moved to the UK after the war.

Martyn Day, lawyer for the British PoWs and Polish slave labourers, criticised the UK Government for not putting pressure on Germany to compensate the prisoners.

He said: "We have no option, therefore, but to put whatever legal, moral or political pressure we can on the Germans to try to force them to recognise the British claims."

Harold Crooks, a British soldier forced into slave labour in Poland, said: "I have received absolutely nothing from the Germans, despite being forced to work in the Silesian coalmines for 18 months in the war.

"At the end of the war, I was in hospital for many months recovering from what they did to me.

"I am delighted our case is at last being pursued."

Jan Mokrzycki, president of the Federation of Poles in Britain, said: "The Polish community in Britain is very wary that it will not receive any part of the proposed deal (to compensate other former forced workers).

"We are therefore doing all we can to try to ensure the Germans recognise our interests and pay out to Poles living in Britain."

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

UK Contents

Northern Ireland

Relevant Stories

16 Nov 99 | UK
Enslaved by the Nazis

15 Nov 99 | Europe
Stakes rise in Nazi compensation row

04 Nov 99 | Americas
US ponders Nazi slave compensation

08 Oct 99 | Wales
'Nazi slave' seeks compensation

Internet Links

UK Federation of Poles

German Government

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online