The Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Germany's main Protestant body, and the main Protestant social-service organization are to contribute 10 million Deutschmarks (US $4.7 million) to a compensation fund launched this week for forced laborers brought to Germany during the Nazi era. In a statement announcing their decision the EKD and Diakonisches Werk admitted that forced laborers had been used in church parishes and diocese institutions, such as church-run hospitals. The compensation fund has been set up by the German government and German businesses after 18 months of negotiations and threats of American lawsuits by victims. About 1.5 million surviving victims will receive between 5000 and 15000 Deutschmarks each from the fund. Dependants will receive nothing. The Roman Catholic Church in Germany has declined to contribute to the fund, and has stated that there is no evidence that forced laborers were used in Catholic institutions. However, a German television station is about to broadcast allegations that forced laborers from Poland and Ukraine were sent to work at a Catholic monastery and a theological seminary, and that prisoners from a concentration camp were forced to work in a church institution. The Nazi regime is believed to have used up to 10 million civilian foreigners and prisoners of war as laborers, many of whom died in appalling conditions. The first forced laborers were brought from Poland soon after the outbreak of the war in 1939. From 1942, forced laborers were shipped in from German-occupied parts of western and eastern Europe, and forced to work in farming, factories and public institutions. In a joint statement issued on 12 July, Manfred Kock, the EKD council president, and Jurgen Gohde, president ...1
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