German Fund Ends Payments to Nazi-Era Forced Laborers

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A fund set up by the German government to compensate Nazi-era forced laborers has finished its last payments to victims. The remaining money in the fund will be used for reconciliation projects.

The Remembrance, Responsibility and Future foundation to compensate Nazi-era forced laborers paid 1.7 million people more than 4.4 billion euros ($5.8 billion) in recent years.

The money has been paid and everything has run its course without a problem," Otto Graf Lambsdorff, a German politician and the fund's vice chair, said in a radio interview on Monday.

Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Horst Köhler are expected to make official announcements about the successful end of the payments on Tuesday.

The fund was conceived as a way to compensate victims of Nazi-era forced labor policies. The money is intended for those who were sent to Nazi concentration camps such as Auschwitz in which they were forced to work in rough conditions and take part in sadistic medical experiments. Six decades later, many of those who survived the camps still bare the physical and emotional scars.

Money from the fund also went towards victims and their descendants who currently live in Europe including the former Soviet Union, Israel and the US. The largest group of recipients are non-Jews in Poland and the Ukraine, who survived the war.

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