107984

 

Norbert Wollheim, bore the prisoner number 107984. On March 12, 1943 his whole family was deported to Auschwitz. While Wollheim was singled out for slave labour, his wife and child were gassed in the concentration camp.

Wollheim was interned in the Monowitz-Buna concentration camp (Auschwitz III), where 40,000 slave laborers lost their lives. The camp was established in October 1942 by the SS at the behest of IG Farben executives to provide slave labor for their Buna Werke industrial complex. IG Farben’s pesticide Zyklon B was used to murder millions of Jews.

In 1950 Norbert Wollheim sued I.G. Farbenindustrie AG for his salary as slave labourer and compensation for damages. His lawsuit was the first test case of a former slave labourer against a company in Germany. In 1953, the court of first instance, the district court of Frankfurt/Main, Germany, convicted IG Farbenindustrie AG i.L. to pay 10.000 Deutschmarks in punitive damages to Wollheim. In second instance the lawsuit was settled by a global settlement awarding several thousand of the former slave labourers of I.G. Farbenindustrie AG 30 million Deutschmarks.

IG Farben was officially put into liquidation in 1952, but this did not end the company’s legal existence. As of 2012, it still exists as a corporation „in liquidation“, meaning that the purpose of the continuing existence of the corporation is being wound up and dissolved in an orderly fashion. It has been continually criticized over the years for failing to pay any compensation to the former laborers, which was the stated reason for its continued existence after 1952.

The former IG Farben Headquarters at Frankfurt is now used by the JW Goethe University. Artist Heiner Blum’s “Wollheim Memorial,” which is located in the former gatehouse and contains video interviews with contemporary witnesses documents the fate of the prisoners.

 

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