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The Compensation of Nazi Germany's Forced Labourers: Demographic Findings and Political Implications

Mark Spoerer and Jochen Fleischhacker
Population Studies
Vol. 56, No. 1 (Mar., 2002), pp. 5-21
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3092938
Page Count: 17
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The Compensation of Nazi Germany's Forced Labourers: Demographic Findings and Political Implications
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Abstract

The debate on financial compensation for former forced labourers in Nazi Germany has raised the question of how many victims are still alive and eligible for compensation. Historical research has so far focused on qualitative aspects of the forced labour system. There are at best ad hoc estimates even for the number of foreign labourers in Nazi Germany during the war. We combine Nazi statistics with post-war demographic data for 20 countries to estimate the number of victims still alive. We then compare our estimates of survivors in mid-2000 with the numbers compensated under the German compensation settlement of July 2000. Although all parties involved in the settlement say that the compensation should benefit those victim groups most discriminated against in Nazi Germany, we find that the actual distribution of compensation payments is strongly influenced by bargaining power and political preferences.

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