News Release – October 23, 2001 Canadian Airmen to Receive Compensation from Germany
Ottawa -The Honourable Ron J. Duhamel, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Western Economic Diversification) (Francophonie), announced today that 15 surviving Canadian veteran airmen will receive financial compensation from Germany for injustices suffered at Buchenwald Concentration Camp during the Second World War. The compensation will be provided through the “Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” which has been set up by the German Government and German industry to compensate former slave workers and forced labourers under the Nazi regime. These airmen are unique among Canadian war veterans in that they were mistakenly arrested as civilians*, detained under inhumane conditions in a concentration camp instead of a prisoner-of-war camp, and compelled to work. “We are pleased with this news,” said Minister Duhamel. “While no amount of compensation can remove the scars of their wartime memories, this is an important recognition of the suffering of these deserving veterans.” An initial installment of approximately $5,400 CDN (representing 50 per cent of the maximum 15,000 DM per person) will be made to each of the 15 surviving airmen from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The IOM is one of the organizations processing the compensation claims for the Foundation. The Government of Canada has decided to provide equal compensation payments to the surviving spouses of four airmen. These surviving spouses were not eligible for the German compensation because their husbands had died prior to the eligibility time-frame set by the German legislation. These cheques will be sent directly from Veterans Affairs Canada. Additional installments to the airmen will depend on the total number of eligible applications the IOM receives before its December 2001 deadline. This recognition from Germany is in addition to a special payment which the Government of Canada made in 1998 to this group for the three months they spent at Buchenwald in 1944 in recognition of the particularly harsh treatment to which they were subjected. Other Canadians who were victims of slave or forced-labour in German concentration camps can contact the IOM regarding application information by telephoning at (613) 237-0651.
[Webmaster’s note: *It is unclear why the statement claims the men were “arrested as civilians.” The reality was that they had been labeled “terrorfliegers” by Herman Goerring, as the Normandy Campaign got underway, and this misnomer contributed to the treatment of fallen aircrew that served as a gross violation of the Geneva Convention.]