German Parliament Passes Nazi Holocaust Compensation Bill

The German parliament Thursday approved a 10 billion-mark bill to compensate former forced and slave laborers in Nazi era.

The bill, based on a draft agreement between Berlin and Washington earlier this year, commits the German government and business to collect 5 billion marks each (2.45 billion US dollars)for a compensation fund for holocaust victims during World War II.

Germany and the U.S. are expected to formally sign the agreement later this month, although both sides are still disputing some details.

556 legislators of the Bundestag, lower chamber of the parliament, voted in favor of the bill on Thursday, while 42 against after debates.

Talks leading to the deal between Germany and the US had lasted over a year before German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and the U.S. President Bill Clinton reached final consensus last December.

The Nazi German dictatorship had forced over 8 million Europeans to supply its depleting labor force during World War II. Hundreds of thousands of them died of maltreatment. The survivors are demanding compensation for the terrible abuses they had suffered.

People's Daily Online ---