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Wednesday, 8 March, 2000, 23:07 GMT
Nazi slave cash talks falter
Auschwitz
Concentration camp survivors want compensation
Negotiators in Washington have failed to come up with a plan to allocate German compensation to surviving victims of the Nazis.

Bitter arguments broke out during the two days of talks over the $5bn fund for more than a million survivors of Nazi-era slave labour practices.

However, the chief German negotiator, Otto Lambsdorff, said significant progress had been made.

Lambsdorff
Otto Lambsdorff: Bruising negotiations
"We did not quite reach the goal we had set for ourselves," Mr Lambsdorff told reporters.

The talks are expected to resume in Berlin on 22 and 23 March.

It will be the fourth round of meetings on how to allocate the money offered by the German Government and leading businesses - including Daimler, Siemens and Deutsche Bank.

The deal, agreed last December, was meant to end all further lawsuits against the firms concerned.

Cash for victims

Disagreements involving the German side and lawyers for different groups of victims have made an early settlement impossible.

Some survivors are unwilling to give up the right to make future claims.

Auschwitz
Internees huddle behind barbed wire in Auschwitz
But the main dispute is among groups of former slave labourers, who often had to work in fear for their lives for the German war effort.

Survivors from eastern European countries - Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the Czech Republic - demand that 90% of the fund goes directly to those who suffered.

Many of these claimants are Christians.

Lawyers for Jewish groups want more money for property claims by victims of the Nazis' so-called Aryanisation programme, in which Jews were stripped of their assets.

Fund money not directly disbursed to victims - or used to settle asset claims, is to pay for administration - education programs, and compensating victims of medical experimentation.

Correspondents say it is feared that many victims may not live to see the promised compensation.

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See also:

14 Dec 99 | Europe
$5bn Nazi slave fund agreed
16 Nov 99 | UK
Enslaved by the Nazis
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