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$3B Lawsuit Filed Vs. Dresdner Bank

May 14, 1999

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ A lawsuit filed Friday on behalf of 22,000 Poles forced into Nazi slave labor seeks $3 billion from Dresdner Bank for its wartime role in financing Nazi SS operations.

Attorney Dieter Wissgott said in a statement that the complaints were directed against Dresdner Bank because during the Nazi era it was ``the dominant financing bank″ of the SS, which is blamed for many wartime atrocities.

A court spokesman could not be reached Friday to confirm the lawsuit was filed.

Stefan Lutz, a Dresdner Bank spokesman, said the bank had not yet received official notification of the lawsuit and ``therefore can’t comment on it.″

However, Lutz noted that Dresdner Bank had joined other German companies in setting up a fund proposed by the German government to compensate former slave laborers under the Nazis. He said that would be considered when responding to the lawsuit.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s chief of staff, Bodo Hombach, was in Washington for two days of talks this week with State Department officials and representatives of eight countries, as well as business and private groups, to coordinate a reparations program.

Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat said Thursday that the reparations program could be worked out within 90 days.

The program is expected to affect 70,000 to 90,000 people from various countries who are classified as former slave laborers.

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