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Six more Swiss firms join German Holocaust fund

Another six Swiss companies have joined the German fund to compensate forced labourers of the Nazi-era, which brings the total to 11.

The six new firms include Roche, Ciba, Holderbank, Kuehne & Nagel, Ascom and Swisscom’s German daughter company, debitel.

The companies which had already joined the fund are Zurich and Winterthur, ABB, Novartis and the Algroup.

A spokeswoman for Swisscom said that debitel would contribute SFr155,000 to the fund which was set up by the German government and industry for the victims of Nazi slave labour and Jews whose property was plundered. As debitel was founded in 1991, several decades after the end of Nazi Germany, “the contribution was being made as a mark of solidarity”.

Roche’s Germany Holding also said on Thursday it was paying into the fund, to show its solidarity. “The detailed analysis of the company’s history showed up no evidence of unethical behaviour,” the company said.

A spokesman for Ciba said that a former plant in Grenzach had been assigned 33 foreigners during the Nazi-era but it was not yet clear whether they were forced labourers.

However, the cement manufacturing company, Holderbank, felt compelled to make a contribution on the part of its German affiliates, Breisgauer Cement and Hamburger Alsen, on the basis of historical facts together with the entire German cement industry. A statement by Holderbank admitted that “all German cement works used forced labour during the Second World War, as most German men were fighting at the front.”

Swiss public radio reported on Thursday that the companies had contributed between SFr100,000 and several million francs into the $4.8 billion German fund.

A total of 3,700 companies have paid into the German fund.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR