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Angel Brown
Angel Brown

Isaac Chambers - Water Gold

Plaintiffs in these four class actions have brought these proceedings against two German corporations, Degussa AG[1] and Siemens AG. Degussa is charged with having refined the gold seized from inmates of the Nazi concentration camps with knowledge of its source, with use of slave labor and with having manufactured Zyklon B used in the notorious gas chambers of Auschwitz and other concentration camps. Siemens is charged with having made extensive use of slave laborers furnished to it by the Nazi regime during World War II.

Isaac Chambers - Water Gold

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Relying on customary international law and the laws of Germany, plaintiffs seek, in the case of Degussa damages or restitution for the gold and other precious metals taken from the victims which Degussa refined for the Nazi Regime and damages on account of the Zyklon B which it provided for use in the gas chambers and, in the case of Siemens and Degussa, compensation for the enforced labor and damages for the oppressive conditions in which they were compelled to live and work.

*251 Alice Burger-Fischer was born in 1938 in Czechoslovakia. The Nazis arrested her and her family sending them first to a ghetto and then to the concentration camp at Auschwitz in Poland. At Auschwitz the camp authorities took all of Burger-Fischer's parents' and grandmother's possessions including gold and precious metal jewelry. Burger-Fischer's grandmother's younger brother and mother were killed in the Auschwitz gas chambers and her father and younger brother, sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp, died on a death march in March, 1945. Burger-Fischer was sent to the concentration camp at Bergen Belsen where she was stripped of her possessions including her coat with gold and precious metal jewelry sewn into it. She believes that Degussa, knowing the source of the family's gold and precious metal jewelry, melted it and refined it into marketable purity.

Michael Vogel was born in Czechoslovakia. In September 1942, the Nazis deported him, his parents, two brothers and two sisters to Auschwitz. His mother and two of his siblings were killed immediately in the gas chambers with Zyklon B. Another brother and sister and his father were forced to perform slave labor and subsequently were killed in the gas chambers. Vogel was stripped of his valuables, including a gold watch upon his arrival at Auschwitz. From 1942 through the fall of 1944 Vogel was forced to work as part of an "Aufraeumungs-Kommando". As such he was required to search for gold, jewelry, watches and other valuables in the personal belongings taken from deportees upon their arrival at Auschwitz prior to their selection for death or slave labor. He was forced to sort the valuables into different categories and believed they were sent to Degussa for melting and refining.

Maria Richman was born in Poland in 1922. In 1942, after the 1939 fall of Poland, the Nazi government sent 20 year old Richman, her parents, four grandparents, her great-grandmother, five siblings and more than 170 other family members to Auschwitz. All but Richman and four other members of her family were killed in the gas chambers of Auschwitz through the use of Zyklon B. Upon their arrival at Auschwitz the gold jewelry and other valuables belonging to the members of the family were seized and, Richman believes, were sent to Degussa for processing. Richman herself was forced to perform heavy labor at Auschwitz from 1942 through 1945, sorting through the belongings of the camp's victims and filling trunks with gold, silver and jewelry which she believes were sent to Degussa for melting.

The complaints against Degussa allege that from 1933 to 1945 Degussa, then and now a major German corporation, actively cooperated with the Nazi regime. Part of this cooperation consisted of receiving from the concentration camps, ghettos and other collection points gold taken from the jewelry, precious metal, coins, eyeglasses and teeth of those being persecuted. Degussa was fully aware of the sources of the gold and nevertheless solicited the business of processing and refining it, an important source of government gold needed to finance prosecution of the war. The complaints further allege that Degussa utilized slave laborers in various of its manufacturing and refining facilities and that it was a principal source of Zyklon B, the agent used in the gas chambers to kill the victims. 041b061a72


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