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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nazi Slave Repayment Deal Signed

German and Russian foundations signed an agreement Friday in Berlin to distribute 835 million Deutsche marks ($366 million) in compensation to an estimated 350,000 former slave workers for the Third Reich in the former Soviet Union.

The payments, part of 10 billion marks ($4.37 billion) that Germany last year agreed to give survivors of Nazi slavery, will start being disbursed in July, said Hans Otto Br?utigam, a member of the board of directors of the German foundation.

"Next week or the week after the money will go out [from Germany]," said Br?utigam.

Soviet citizens who were held in ghettos or prison camps are entitled to 15,000 marks each and those who were forced to work are entitled to up to 5,000 marks. The bill is being footed by German corporations and taxpayers.

Foundations in Poland and the Czech Republic and one for Jewish claimants received their first payments from Germany last week, but the agreement on the Russia payout had been delayed by administrative changes at the Russian foundation.

The German payments became possible only after U.S. courts dismissed class actions brought on behalf of Nazi victims against German firms over their use of slave labor. Austrian firms are still waiting for all such suits against them to be dismissed.

Representatives of Russia's foundation are also waiting to begin distributing funds from the Austrian Reconciliation Foundation totaling 725 million Austrian schillings ($45 million) for up to 25,000 Nazi victims. The Austrian foundation cannot disperse funds while class actions are pending in the United States.

"It could be very fast," said Dr. Wolfgang Renezeder, chief of staff at the foundation, in a telephone interview from Vienna. "It's in the hands of the U.S. courts."

Applications for the Austrian money close on Nov. 22, 2002.

Applications for compensation from Germany are set to close Aug. 11, but Br?utigam said he believed the deadline would be extended.