IOM TO MAKE SECOND PAYMENTS

The Polish American Congress is pleased to report that the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Geneva based partner organization responsible for the German Forced Labor Compensation Program, is ready to make the long awaited 2nd installment payments to victims of slave and forced labor.

Starting this week, IOM checks will be sent out beginning on May 18, 2005, to all surviving slave laborers, forced laborers in industry and forced laborers in agriculture who had received earlier their first installment payment. The additional funds allocated to the IOM at the German Foundationís Board of Trustees meeting in January 2005 enable the IOM to pay the full second installment to all the eligible victims.

In early June, the IOM will also make payments to eligible victin1s of property loss.

During the summer months, IOM will start to make payments to legal successors/heirs. While the amounts to be paid legal successors/heirs will not be determined until the Kuartorium meets in mid-June, it is apparent that they will be significantly higher than the minimum amounts previously announced.

Since early 1999, the Polish American Congress has been involved in the multi-country plenary sessions chaired by the U.S. State Department that resulted in an agreement to pay victims. In early 2000 when the IOM was selected to administer the program for those living outside of Central/Eastern Europe, the Polish American Congress through its National Executive Director. Les Kuczynski, participated in establishing the program.

During 2000 through 2001, the Polish American Congress, as the only organization so authorized by the IOM, established a program to notify potential claimants, helping over 8,000 living in Canada and in U.S. with their applications. The PAC performed this task without cost or remuneration to the applicants.

In 2002 when the IOM established an independent Appeals Panel to review denied claims, the Polish American Congress was honored with the selection of Les Kuczynski on the three-member panel. Over 25,000 appeals have been filed.

German law mandates that al1 payments conclude by September 2006--when all appeals and legal heirs files will have been completed.

 
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