Erika Steinbach, the president of the Bund der Vertriebenen (BdV), which represents Germans who were displaced after the war, wants the government to compensate people who were required to labour in nearby countries following the defeat of the Nazis.
But the minister told Steinbach in a letter that what happened after the war was simply fate and cannot be compensated, according to the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
The BdV is widely loathed in eastern Europe for consistently making calls for compensation to those Germans displaced during and after the war. While many Germans had to perform forced labour in neighboring countries, BdV opponents argue the war only took place because Nazi Germany started it.
In the letter Friedrich said his ministry does not have the money to pay €5,000 for each person affected and he estimates there are as many as 100,000 people with such claims.
Steinbach renewed her appeal on Saturday during a gathering of her group’s Tag der Heimat or Homeland Day. She called on the federal government, which has been discussing the compensation for years, to pay up.
Wolfgang Bosbach, the Christian Democratic (CDU) chairman of the Bundestag’s committee on domestic affairs agreed in principle with Steinbach’s demands.
The CDU presented a draft bill in 2003 that would have compensated forced laborers, but it was rejected by the then Social Democratic-Green majority. According to the newspaper, Volker Kauder, the head of the CDU parliamentary group, plans to bring up the subject at the next parliamentary group meeting.