Tuesday, April 8, 2008

German Church admits aiding Nazis - BBC News

Germany's Roman Catholic Church have acknowledged the extent of its engagement in the usage of forced labor during World War II.

A 700-page study states 1,000 captives of warfare and some 5,000 civilians were forced to work for the Nazis in support of the German warfare effort.

They were drafted from 800 Catholic-run establishments across the country.

The Church had previously paid $2m in compensation to foreign workers who the Nazis had used for forced labour.

"It should not be concealed that the Catholic Church was unsighted for too long to the fate and agony of men, women and children from the whole of Europe who were carted off to Federal Republic Of Germany as forced labourers," said Cardinal Karl Lehmann, the bishop of Mainz.

The cardinal - who stood down in January as caput of the German bishops' conference - noted that the figure of forced laborers used by the Church was a little fraction of the estimated 13m compelled to work by the Nazis.

At the televised launch of the study in Mainz, the cardinal said the statuses in which people had been forced to work in Catholic establishments - such as as hospitals, places and monastery gardens - had not been as bad as elsewhere.

The Protestant Church in Federal Republic Of Germany have admitted a similar usage of forced labor during the Nazi era.

A figure of leading German companies, such as as Deutsche Bank, Volkswagen and Mho have, in recent years, commissioned studies into their ain doubtful involvement.

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