Dublin, Thursday, August 19, 1999
survivors protest at IG Farben meeting
By Denis Staunton,
IG Farben, the chemicals firm that
manufactured the gas that killed millions of Jews
in Hitler's death camps, agreed yesterday to create
a fund to compensate former slave labourers.
However, more than 100 protesters, including
Holocaust survivors, rejected the offer and called
for the immediate dissolution of the company and
the division of its remaining capital among those
forced to work in the death camps.
Amid turbulent scenes at a shareholders' meeting
in Frankfurt, "IG Farben in Liquidation", as the
firm's legal successor is known, set aside DM3
million to compensate former slave labourers.
Security staff prevented an 83 year-old Auschwitz
survivor, Mr Hans Frankenthal, from
completing an address to the shareholders and some
demonstrators were bundled out of the meeting.
Protesters carried banners saying: "No
forgiving, no forgetting for mass murder and slave
labour", and "These shares are covered in blood".
The company's liquidator, Mr Volker Pollehn,
claimed that more than 450 lawsuits by former slave
labourers were holding up the process of
Mr Frankenthal expressed the outrage of death
camp survivors at the fact that IG Farben shares
are still being traded on the stock exchange.
"We continue to call for the immediate
dissolution of the firm, which symbolises the
collaboration between industry and state in Nazi
Germany. The entire assets must be transferred to a
foundation controlled by former concentration camp
inmates," he said.
IG Farben was the product of a merger between
BASF, Agfa and Hoechst in 1925. During the second
World War, the company took over chemical plants in
German-occupied territories and established a
labour camp in Auschwitz in 1941.
By 1944, more than
83,000 forced labourers and death camp inmates
were put to work in the IG Farben camp at
more than 120,000 people
perished. One of the
company's subsidiaries, Degesch, manufactured
Zyklon B, the poisonous gas used to murder
millions of Jews.