|Just like the government, companies that had gained an immense profit by using slave laborers did little to offer an apology or compensation. In most cases, companies denied their participation in the exploitation of slave laborers. One of the many excuses is that the ownership shifted after the end of World War II.|
|Companies whose owner did not change tried (and still try) to keep the compensation sums as low as possible. Romanian Jew Hedwig Rosenberg was forced to labor in one of the Volkswagen factories. Later, she filed a law suit in order to receive an appropriate pay. Volkswagen tried to calm her down with a sum of 10,000 DM ($4,167 US). Hedwig Rosenberg did not accept this additional humiliation and filed for another 5,000 DM ($2,084 US) in compensation and punitive damages.|
|Mark Spoerer, a professor at the University of Hohenheim in Germany, listed
all the companies that so far have offered financial compensation for the slave
laborers having been exploited in their factories. His results are astonishing.
Between 1945 and 1998, only sixteen companies were willing to admit their
participation and have spent money on compensation efforts.
[see also Mark Spoerer's site: ]
Among those companies are:
Degussa: The firm that produced among other products the Zyklon B (potassium cyanide) that was used to kill the people in the gas chambers. Degussa paid an unpublished amount in 1997.
Friedrich Krupp: The company produced the steel used to build bombs and cannons.
(Krupp paid 10 million DM in 1959. The amount equals 33 million DM of today's value, thus about 13.75 million US-$).
Daimler Benz: Nowadays, the company produces cars like Mercedes Benz.
(Daimler Benz paid 20 million DM in 1988. The amount equals 26.25 million DM of today's value, thus about 10.94 million US-$).
All in all, the 16 companies have paid 269.02 million Deutschmarks of today's value (112.1 million US-$).
|Considering the profits gained by the companies through slave labor, the
amount of money spent on compensation seems ridiculous. One has to keep in mind
that the slave laborers represented in some factories 90 percent of all the
employees, as the German employees had been drafted! By exploiting slave
laborers, the production process was secured throughout the war.
The Wirtschaftswunder (economic boom) that took place in western Germany after World War II is to a large degree due to the exploitation of slave laborers who secured the capital for the industry. Despite the ERP (European Recovery Program) provided by the USA, the western German economy would not have been able to increase that fast without the exploitation of slave laborers.