Move the mouse pointer over a red word in the main text, to view the glossary entry for this word.

Timeline: The History of Compensation

August 2, 1945

Potsdam Agreement guarantees payment of reparations to war victims to offset losses and sufferings.


September 10, 1952

Luxembourg Agreement: The FRG pays 3 million DM to Israel in the form of deliveries of goods, and 450 million DM to the Claims Conference, to be disbursed to victims of National Socialism.



Norbert Wollheim sues I.G. Farben i. L., and his civil action seeking 10,000 DM is allowed.


July 1953

First federal German law regarding compensation, followed in 1956 by the “Federal Law on Compensation” (Bundesentschädigungsgesetz).



General agreements for the group of “persons from the West who were victims of persecution” (Westverfolgte.). For those living west of the Iron Curtain, a total of  876 million DM is allocated by the FRG.



After lawsuits filed by former forced laborers, compensation is paid by Krupp, AEG, Telefunken, Siemens, and Rheinmetall.



Inconclusive negotiations between the Claims Conference and the Flick concern regarding compensation of former forced laborers who worked for Dynamit Nobel, a Flick subsidiary.



Motion made by the Greens in the Bundestag to set up a compensation fund, financed by German industry, that would include the “forgotten groups of victims” such as the Sinti and Roma, so-called asocial elements, homosexuals, and victims of forced sterilization.



On the occasion of the planned sale of the shares in Dynamit Nobel by the Flick concern to Deutsche Bank, the Claims Conference renews its demand for compensation, which leads to payment of 5 million DM to the former forced laborers.


January 16, 1986

The European Parliament calls for setting up a fund for compensation payments to the victims of forced labor.


April 6, 1987

A fresh motion to establish a compensation fund is rejected by the Bundestag.


June 24, 1987

First public hearing before the Interior Committee of the Bundestag on “Reparations and Compensation for National Socialist Injustices.” Creation of so-called hardship funds for neglected groups of victims.



The Greens present a draft law on compensation of former forced laborers via a federal foundation; the SPD parliamentary group introduces an identical motion in the Bundestag.


September 12, 1990

Signing of the Two Plus Four Agreement, which leads to reunification, with the GDR becoming part of the national territory of the FRG.



A general agreement with various East European countries arranges for very small monthly compensation payments to former forced laborers.


As of 1995

Class actions against German companies filed by former forced laborers in the United States.


By 1998

3.1 million DM paid to intermediary organizations of the plaintiffs, following agreements reached between the FRG and the United States.



First calls for protests and boycotts in the American media, as the new red-green federal government under Gerhard Schröder and German industry fail to come to an agreement with the United States regarding a compensation fund. An offer of 6 billion DM is rejected as insufficient by the victims’ representatives.


December 1999

Agreement on a fund in the amount of 10 billion DM, provided in equal amounts by the German government and German industry; for this purpose, the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future” (“Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft,” EVZ Foundation) is to be established.


July 17, 2000

Berlin Agreement: The United States drops claims to German reparations for damages done in World War II.


August 2, 2000

The law on establishment of the “Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future” (EVZ) Foundation comes into effect.


June 1, 2001

The first compensation monies are paid out to the former forced laborers.



The EVZ Foundation ceases operation: It notes that it has fulfilled its mission in accordance with the law regulating its establishment.


(Compilation based on Peer Heinelt: Financial Compensation for Nazi Forced Laborers, by Christian Höhn/Tobias Zorn; transl. KL)