NEW YORK -- The Bulldog
Newspaper at Fresno State University has been credited for breaking
the story over two years ago that a Belgium woman had filed a law
suit against Ford Motor Company and its German affiliate
Ford Werke A.G. in Cologne, Germany for being forced to work as
a slave laborer at during World War II.
That woman wa the frist person to sue to obtain
reasonable payment for Nazi slave-labor performed during the holocaust. She and
asked the court to order Ford the give-up unfair profitsfrom use of slaves to
produce Fords for Hitler's Nazi war machine.
The case, filed on March 4, 1998 in a US federal
court in Newark, together with thousands of related claims that followed, is now
close to settling.
At issue are demands that the company turn over
all profits derived from slave labour to the labourers involved. The claimants
allege that Ford's senior US executives were aware of the practice, which began
Edward D. Fagan is the New York City attorney who
repesents 42,000 other Nazi holocaust servivors or their relatives accusing Swiss
banks of stealing money 50 years ago from those who died in the Holocaust. He
is a Cardozo Law School (New York) 1980 graduate.
Mr. Fagan has filed lawsuits against banks, insurers and other companies in Austria,
Germany and elsewhere, charging that they too profited from Nazi ties or exploited
victims. Settlements of actions against Swiss banks and German industry worth
over $6.2 billion were recently approved.
Last week, Mr. Fagan was in Berlin,Vienna, and Warsaw
on behalf of tens of thousands of people whom he and lawyers associated with him
In July, Mr. Fagan arrived in Berlin as part of
a victory lap in two of the most significant cases. To settle slave-labor claims
against German industry, the government and companies there had approved a $5
billion fund to compensate Nazi-era survivors.Under the German plan, two arbitrators
are to decide how to award legal fees. Mr. Fagan said that the arbitrators had
up to $75 million to award. He is seeking $4 million in legal fees in the Swiss
Recently Fagan sued Japanese companies charging
them with using thousands of Asians and others as forced labor during World War
II. Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, New Zealand and the Philippines in a bid
to sign up thousands of people who claimed they had been used as forced laborers,
including former American and Allied prisoners of war.
Last month, when word leaked out that Mr. Fagan
was working with new clients who are victims of Japanese wartime aggression, public
demonstrations of support were sparked in Seoul, South Korea.
[Editor's Note: The
original Nazi Holocaust law suit breaking news story is still available online
During the Nazi Party authoritarian regime in Germany from the early 1930's
thru World War II approximately 8 million people in the German Reich and in the
areas occupied by Germany were subjected to forced labor. In many cases those
persecuted were robbed of their property. Former forced laborers can now apply
for compensation with one of two international organizations handling their claims
on behalf of the German foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future."
The law setting up the foundation entered into force on Saturday, Aug. 12, after
having been passed by an overwhelming majority of the German parliament in July.
Applicants holding American citizenship should send their application and documentation
either to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), for non-Jewish applicants,
or to the Jewish Claims Conference (JCC). Both organizations have dedicated websites
to be found at www.iom.int and www.claimscon.org,
respectively. Applications will be accepted for a time period of eight months
in most cases including those filed with the JCC, twelve months for applications
with the IOM. Both organizations have declared their willingness to help applicants
assemble the required documents as sufficient documentation must accompany all
applications. German Companies will support these efforts by providing information
directly to the IOM and the JCC.The addresses for the IOM and the JCC offices
to be used by U.S. residents are, respectively: International Organization
for Migration1752 N Street NW, Suite 700 Washington, D.C. 20036-2906 - Ph:
(202) 862-1826, ext. 228 - Fax: (202) 862-1879 | Conference on Jewish Material
Claims against Germany 15, East 26th Street | NewYork, NY 10010 - Ph: (212) 696-4944
- Fax: (212) 697-2126].
to the Editor