While lawyers for the victims in a class-action suit were assured a foundation would be set up to compensate civilians used for slave labour, they were told the funds would not extend to military personnel. Germany said it was prepared to compensate mainly Jewish, Polish and Ukrainian civilians transported to Germany for slave labour before and during the Second World War, but not British soldiers.
On Wednesday solicitors from the firms Martyn Day, Leigh Day & Co and Fentons negotiated with civil servants in Bonn. The Germans said that, since their own PoWs were unlikely to be compensated, they could not offer compensation to military personnel.
But they agreed to set up a foundation to compensate forced-labourers from East Europe who moved to Britain at the end of the War.
Compensation claims will be paid by funds contributed by German industry and the German government. The global figure offered for compensation claims worldwide is likely to be about pounds 4bn.
Lawyers heading the delegation have pledged to continue to press the cause of the British PoWs. Fentons partner Kieran Maguire said: "Setting up of a fund for UK residents is a welcome step forward by the German government. We are urging them to expedite the process to ensure that those victims who worked in appalling conditions for many years are compensated as quickly as possible."Reuse content