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Paying For the Past (2000)


In a Second World War concentration camp inmates and prisoners were forced to work for German industry in the war effort. Many died. The world’s largest class action seeks compensation for the victims from the German industries that benefited from the forced labour. The documentary follows efforts by lawyers from around the world to secure a financial settlement from German industry and an apology from the German government. The documentary uses historical still photographs and interviews with Holocaust survivors and the lawyers.

Curator’s notes

The documentary covers the efforts by lawyers and the final compensation paid to victims. The story is satisfying in that it covers one positive resolution to an episode in the terrible history of war. The film ends with a reminder that other countries besides Germany also used slave labour. The viewer gets a real sense of the negotiating process and an interesting portrait of the lawyers who pursued the matter to the point of closure. Director Nicola Woolmington’s credits include, Einstein’s Wife, Where Angels Fear to Tread, Sky Trackers and Get Real.