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Top: JewishWorld Conspiracies: RestitutionIssues: WWII Slave Labor Issues
VIENNA, Austria, Dec 16, 1998, By George Jahn, (AP) -- A commissioninvestigating Nazi slave labor in an Austrian factory has foundmore than 30,000 files containing information about foreign workersforced to work in the plant during World War II, the head of theinvestigating team said.
The files, including names and other information about theworkers, were found recently in a concrete tower on VOEST-Alpineproperty, the Austria Press Agency quoted Commission chairmanOliver Rathkolb as saying Tuesday. The tower was used as an antiaircraftgun site during the war.
After Nazi Germany absorbed Austria in 1938, the VOEST-Alpinesteel and metal conglomerate was renamed after Herman Goering,Hitler's lieutenant. The plant in Linz, about 90 miles west ofVienna, became a major arms producer for Hitler's war machinery.
Millions of Poles, Russians and others considered inferiorby the Nazis were forced to work there and in plants elsewherethroughout Hitler's Reich.
Germany has paid more than $60 billion in reparations to Nazivictims, but has refused to honor wage claims by slave laborers,who were technically working for private companies.
Lawyers and historians in the United States and elsewhereare compiling evidence of slave labor in Germany and Austria forpossible use in class action suits on behalf of survivors. VOESTand several other Austrian companies have set up independent commissionsto look into their companies' wartime histories.
VOEST, along with Steyr-Daimler-Puch and Lenzinger Zellstoffwerke,are the three Austrian companies believed to have used the mostslave labor during the war. They are negotiating with New Yorklawyers who claim to represent former victims, but no detailsof any settlement have been published.
Separately, an Austrian government commission is examiningoptions for compensating victims of Nazi looting and unjust post-WorldWar II restitution laws, in the face of threatened lawsuits. Money,art and other valuables were looted by the Nazis and by the immediatepostwar government.
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