Slave laborers who survived Nazis get little compensation

Breaking News

Bad Arolsen, Germany -- The largest archive of Nazi files is supposed to provide documentation to former World War II slave laborers so they can qualify for compensation. Hope that the victims would benefit in their lifetimes was raised earlier this year when 11 nations, including Germany, Israel and the United States, agreed to make the archives more widely available.

But critics say the process remains so slow that tens of thousands -- now in their 80s and 90s -- will never see a dime.

Jack Terry, a 76-year-old retired psychiatrist from New York City, waited almost six years for information about his father, Chaim Szabmacher, an inmate of Poland's Maidanek death camp in 1942. "I wanted to know what information was available about his fate," said Terry, who is the sole survivor of a Polish-Jewish family. "In 2004, I finally received a very brief note saying he had 'died' in 1943."

Critics point to a lack of manpower, obsolete record keeping -- materials are filed only by individual names, not by concentration camps, weapons factories, ghettos or Nazi SS units -- an inadequate budget, and knotted red tape.

comments powered by Disqus