The operator of this non-commercial website is the highly motivated community-minded Martin Mitchell from Australia (himself an instititionalised and abused minor in church institutions in the former West Germany)

News in brief in the German news-magazine FOCUS, Munich the 12 August 2007:
»The Association of Former Wards of the State [ of the former West-Germany ] /
Former Institutionalised Children / Care-Leavers-Survivors demand compensation -
"The firms that made use of institutional child labour ( "unpaid forced labour" ) have to pay"« -
announced the lawyer for the victims, Munich
human rights lawyer Michael Witti.

English translation of German news magazine article in the FOCUS MAGAZINE - Abridged Version - from 12.08.07, 09:24

The Association of former Wards of the State [a victims association of children and minors institutionalised in the former West Germany] / Former Institutionalised Children / Care-Leavers-Survivors [of West-Germany] demand compensation from German industry – “[post war West-German industry] business enterprises that used child slave labour [of any kind], must pay.

Munich. The German Association of former [institutionalised] Wards of the State have expanded its demands for compensation to include German industry, the German news magazine FOCUS reports with reference to a recent announcement made by the Munich human rights lawyer Michael Witti and his associate Gerrit Wilmans in Hamburg who together are representing the interests of the [registered] Association ["Verein ehemaliger Heimkinder e.V."] founded in October 2004. Up until recently demands for compensation were directed simply to the State and both the German Catholic Church as well as the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Germany, as the operators of these Institutions [where child slave labour and all forms of other abuse did occur].

The demands for compensation are based on the fact that up until the end of the 70’s many children and young persons in these institutions were forced to work instead of being allowed to attend school or learning a trade [i.e., they were deliberately prevented from furthering their education]. They were [for example] compelled to work [always unpaid of course] in agriculture, were used to assemble circuit boards or manufacture simple building components [or machine parts] and to apply anti-rust treatment to balustrades and wrought-iron fences. The employers [of this fast pool of unpaid child slave labour] are alleged to have been German firms and enterprises, so Mr. Witti informed FOCUS. ”All firms that used and profited from this form of labour in these institutions back then, have to be made to pay – and pay mightily [i.e., not just a token amount], Mr. Witti said. Victims should be compensated monetarily, each according to his or her suffering [, according to the wrong and injustice committed against each individual, according to the adverse life consequences and illnesses stemming there- from for each of the them, but equally according to the seriousness of the breach of the then existing domestic law and international agreements by which the parties were bound and which they all chose to ignore]. “The figure to be discussed” should be “in the billions”.

The German Bishop Conference is collecting relevant information regarding the conditions in these institutions covering the period between 1950 and 1975. A confidential report [in this regard], [a copy of which] FOCUS is in possession of, recommends that the Catholic Church take "moral responsibility" for its [unsavoury] past [in connection with these matters].

[ Enthoben aus dem Internet @

MAGAZIN - FOCUS - Kurzfassungen - 12.08.07, 09:24

Verein ehemalige Heimkinder fordert von der Industrie Schadenersatz – „Firmen, die in Heimen arbeiten ließen, sollen zahlen“

München. Der Verein ehemalige Heimkinder weitet seine Schadenersatzforderungen auf die deutsche Industrie aus. Das berichtet das Nachrichtenmagazin FOCUS unter Berufung auf Angaben des Münchner Anwalts Michael Witti, der zusammen mit seinem Hamburger Kollegen Gerrit Wilman die Interessen des im Oktober 2004 gegründeten Vereins ["Verein ehemaliger Heimkinder e. V."] vertritt. Bisher richteten sich die Forderungen an den Staat und beide Kirchen [die Römisch Katholische Kirche in Deutschland] [sowohl wie die Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD)] als Träger und Betreiber der Einrichtungen.

Die Schadenersatzforderungen beruhen darauf, dass bis Ende der 70er-Jahre viele Kinder und Jugendliche in Heimen arbeiten mussten, anstatt in die Schule zu gehen oder einen Beruf zu erlernen. Sie arbeiteten beispielsweise auf Feldern, oder sie montierten Schaltkreise, fertigten einfache Bauteile und entrosteten schmiedeeiserne Zäune. Auftraggeber seien deutsche Unternehmen gewesen, sagte Witti zu FOCUS. „Die Firmen, die damals in Heimen arbeiten ließen, müssen dafür zahlen - und zwar gewaltig“, so Witti weiter. Je nach erlittenem Leid sollten die Betroffenen Geld erhalten. Man müsse „über Milliarden reden“.

Die deutsche Bischofskonferenz sammelt Erkenntnisse über die Zustände in ihren Heimen zwischen 1950 und 1975. Ein vertrauliches Papier, das FOCUS vorliegt, empfiehlt, die katholische Kirche solle in der Auseinandersetzung mit der Vergangenheit „moralische Verantwortung“ übernehmen.

QUELLE: FOCUS 33/2007 vom 13.8.2007.

Cross reference to the German version of this FOCUS-article – the German original with a heading in German – @

Kreuzverweis zur englischen Version dieses FOCUS-Artikels – eine Übersetzung in die Englische Sprache, mit englischer Überschrift – @

[ Date of first publication on this Website: 16. August 2007 ]

Subindex No. 1

DW WORLD.DE - DEUTSCHE WELLE on 23.01.2009 in English ( Sabina Casagrande reporting )
( relating to the former West-Germany ) »Abused Wards Of The State Demand Reparations In Germany«
An apology and compensation are long overdue

( The current CDU/SPD Government of the German Federal Republic, however, is dragging its feet. )

News in brief in the German news-magazine FOCUS, Munich the 12 August 2007:
»The Association of Former Wards of the State [ of the former West-Germany ] /
Former Institutionalised Children / Care-Leavers-Survivors demand compensation -
"The firms that made use of institutional child labour ( "unpaid forced labour" ) have to pay"« -
announced the lawyer for the victims, Munich
human rights lawyer Michael Witti.

Media reports pertaining to an Australian compensation case indexed by GOOGLE:
Court Judgment:
Compensation for Aborigine of the "Stolen Generation":

Judgment of The Honourable Justice Gray - 1 August 2007

Former wards of the state take the initiative.
German care-leavers-survivors take Government to task.
The German Federal Government is being challenged to answer the following simple question:
Ehemalige Heimkinder stellen eine sehr einfache Frage an die Deutsche Bundesregierung:

Legitimate critical observations by the Australian operator, Martin Mitchell, of the
cum postwar German history site Care-Leavers
@ with regard to specific human rights violations -
extra-judicial incarceration and "forced labour" and the profiteering therefrom
by the postwar West-German State
, the churches and private enterprise
(between ca 1945 - 1975) - which should concern us all.

Absolute prohibition of all forms of forced labour / compulsory labour !, or not ?
Was "forced labour" / "compulsory labour" / "work therapy" /
"indoctrination by toil" / "labour discipline" / "pressganged labour"
"hiring out of involuntary labour" / "forcing people to work without pay" ever permitted
in the Federal Republic of Germany, or not? Was it ever permitted in the 1950s, the 1960s,
the 1970s and the 1980?
Is it permitted in the Federal Republic of Germany today?

The use of and the profiteering from forced labour are crimes under international law and they
constitute a serious violation of human rights and an unlawful curtailment of human freedoms.

German wards of the state / institutionalised children used as slave labourers (in the former
West Germany
) demand adequate compensation and the making of appropriate amends;
they don't want to be "paid off" / "to be bribed henceforth to keep quiet"; no "compromise" !

Deutsche Heimkinder / Kindersklaven verlangen eine anständige Entschädigung und
Wiedergutmachung; keine "Abfindung" / "kein Schweigegeld", keinen "Kompromiss" !

Horrific (hidden) POSTWAR GERMAN HISTORY unearthed !!!
Justice at last for abused wards of the state being detained
and slave laboured in ‘institutional care’ in
(West) Germany
by church and state
(a couple of million of them between 1945-1975+;
the exact number has not as yet been able to be determined).

However, whether these victims will in fact obtain justice remains to be seen.


Mary Raftery and Eoin O'Sullivan – First published in 1999 – ISBN 0-8264-1337-4 – (425 pages).
Well-researched non-fictional documentary-type account of Irish institutional child abuse –
in this case perpetrated almost solely by Catholic orders of religion in institutions run for profit
and enrichment of themselves, and to the total disregard of the needs of the children in their ‘care’.

Forgotten Children – The Secret Abuse Scandal in Children's Homes.
[ Institutional child abuse in the UK ]
Author Christian Wolmar – Vision Paperbacks . October 2000.

Visit also “Ehemalige Heimkinder” (former Wards of the State) Blog @

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