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German Drug Firm Not in Slave Fund

February 24, 1999

BERLIN (AP) _ While conceding that 400 slave laborers worked for it during World War II, German pharmaceuticals giant Schering AG did not commit itself Wednesday to joining a compensation fund being set up by the government and German industry.

``We’re watching with interest″ as details of the fund are being worked out in Bonn, said Gert Wlasich, chief historian and archivist at Schering.

He said Schering did not feel obligated to join the fund because it was not involved in producing armaments, nor did it employ concentration camp prisoners. The slave laborers at Schering _ about 400 out of a workforce of 4,000 _ were mostly from Ukraine and were treated better than in most other firms, he said.

Schering has ``not received a single claim for compensation″ from a former slave laborer and has not been named in any of the lawsuits pending in the United States or elsewhere against German firms, he noted.

He said Schering had not ruled out joining the compensation fund, but was waiting to see how it took shape.

Twelve of Germany’s largest companies, including Deutsche Bank, DaimlerChrysler, Volkswagen and Siemens, pledged this month to contribute to the fund to pay reparations to Nazi-era slave laborers, partly to settle a number of U.S. lawsuits from Holocaust survivors.

The companies said they expect to start the fund in September but key details remain unclear, including how much each will contribute.

Schering produced mostly insulin and other pharmaceuticals during the war, as well as pesticides, Wlasich said.

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