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Posted Monday, August 24, 1998


Hark Ye King Aethelred the Unready, his Lesson No. 1:
"The More You Pay Them the Danegeld, You Never Get Rid of the Danes..." [see AR comment below]

Philadelphia News, August 24, 1998

Holocaust victims sue firm over cyanide sold to the Nazis

They seek all of the German company's assets. The suit was filed in Newark, near the firm's U.S. base.


NEWARK -- Holocaust victims yesterday sued a German company, contending that Degussa AG helped the Nazis produce the gas used in the death camps and assisted in laundering gold seized from Jews. The lawsuit, seeking the company's entire assets in compensation, comes a week after a $1.25 billion settlement between victims and Swiss banks, and it expands survivor claims from financial institutions to industrial companies.

Ed Fagan, a lawyer involved in the bank deal, filed yesterday's lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Newark because Degussa's U.S. base is in Ridgefield Park, N.J.

In connection with the suit, State Assembly Minority Leader Neil M. Cohen, (D., 20th), asked Gov. Whitman to divest the state pension fund of its holdings in Degussa.

The state had 500,000 shares of Degussa, worth more than $30 million, as of Aug. 13, according to Treasury Department spokesman Jack Mozloom. The department generally opposes divestiture requests. "It's a slippery slope when you allow politics to influence investment," Mozloom said.

Whitman's press office had no immediate response.

A similar divestiture demand was made during the Swiss bank litigation. Whitman previously said she was hesitant to sign legislation enacting sanctions, but did order that the state refrain from making new investments in the banks. With the bank settlement reached, Whitman is considering whether to lift that order.

Degussa, based in Frankfurt, Germany, said yesterday that it had not seen the lawsuit and could not take any position on the allegations related to the company's actions during the Nazi era. The company said historians it commissioned began investigating Degussa's history last year, a project that is expected to take several years to complete.


Zyklon-B cyanide tablets, used to gas hundreds of thousands of concentration camp inmates, was produced by Degesch, which was owned by Degussa and IG Farben, a chemical concern that was dissolved after the war.

A Degussa spokeswoman in Germany acknowledged business ties with IG Farben during the Nazi era, but she declined to elaborate yesterday. Some of those details are being researched by the historians, she said.

Other German companies, including Allianz, Daimler, Volkswagen and Deutsche Bank, have enlisted independent historians, including experts from America, Britain and Israel in addition to Germany, to examine their files and determine exactly how the companies behaved during World War II.

Such research comes as settlements by Swiss banks and an Italian insurance company put pressure on German firms to settle claims from those forced into slave labor in World War II.

A U.S. company, Ford Motor Co., has also been sued here to compensate former slave workers at its German subsidiary during the war.

More than 7 million people were coerced to work in Germany under Hitler's regime, but the government and German companies have rebuffed survivors' demands for back wages. The Bonn government, while paying billions to concentration camp survivors as recompense for their loss of liberty and health damages, has refused to honor wage claims, saying laborers worked for private companies.

Fearing lawsuits similar to those that have dogged Swiss banks, some large German firms are searching for ways to head off an onslaught of compensation demands. Experts believe that at least 500,000 former laborers are still alive.

One suggestion, raised in a newspaper report Thursday, is a government-sponsored fund to which industry would contribute.

Daimler-Benz, Germany's biggest industrial group, has pledged to participate. Automaker BMW, electronics giant Siemens, and the Hochtief construction company also have signaled their readiness to contribute to such an endowment, the daily Frankfurter Rundschau said.

The pressure on both the government and private firms began to build after Volkswagen broke ranks and announced last month that it would pay its World War II slave laborers.

©1998 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.

THE TIMES, London, August 21, 1998


Nazi camp gold dispute

Gold teeth were melted down for the Nazi regime

VICTIMS of World War II Nazi concentration camps have filed a writ in the US against a German company they say played a "unique role" in the Holocaust.

They say Degussa AG processed extracted gold dental fixtures into marketable gold.

The case against Degussa also alleges that the firm was the co-owner of another company, Degesch, which produced the Zyklon-B cyanide tablets used to gas hundreds of thousands of camp inmates.

The case, brought by Holocaust survivors and their heirs, seeks all of Degussa AG's assets.

The plaintiffs' lawyer, Edward Fagan, said: "Basically I want to see Degussa bankrupt."

The case brought against the firm says: "Degussa played a unique role in the Holocaust.

2.  [The Times]

"Plaintiffs are Holocaust victims and their heirs whose personal gold and other precious metal assets - including gold teeth, eyeglasses, jewellery and wristwatches - were taken by the Nazis and knowingly smelted (or) laundered by Degussa."

It alleges Degussa told the Nazis it could refine gold dental fixtures into marketable gold, leading the regime to forcibly take teeth from living and murdered victims.

Few options under Hitler

Zyklon-B was produced by Degesch, jointly owned by Degussa and IG Farben, a chemical company dissolved after the war.

A Degussa spokeswoman in Germany acknowledged business ties with IG Farben during the Nazi era, but would not comment further on the case.

The case was filed in Newark, New Jersey, because its US subsidiary, Degussa Corp, is based there in Ridgefield Park.

The subsidiary's general counsel, Dennis Taylor, said the corporation was formed in 1973 and has "no connection to whatever may have occurred in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s".

But Mr Taylor said the parent company had few options under Hitler. "It wasn't like Degussa determined what they wanted to refine. Everyone in Germany did what the government wanted."

Our opinion

Tja, meine Herren! If you had contributed more of your largesse to the promotion of Real History, and somewhat less to the slush-funds of the two German political parties which have shown themselves devoted to imprisoning their country’s patriots and revisionists, you might not find yourself in this unhappy predicament now. . .


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