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Following Volkswagen's lead, Siemens announced plans Wednesday for a $12 million fund to compensate former slave laborers forced to work for the company by the Nazis during World War II.

The electronics giant, along with VW, is one of several German businesses under pressure from lawsuits in the United States and threats of more at home from Nazi-era victims.

Volkswagen last week became the first of these firms to agree to victim payments when it announced its own $12 million fund -- a change of heart after arguing for years that it had no legal duty to pay back wages for labor forced on it by the Nazi war machine.

The Munich-based Siemens said its fund is in addition to the $4.3 million it paid to the Jewish Claims Conference in 1961 and to providing humanitarian help for victims. Siemens estimates that between 10,000 and 20,000 slave laborer worked in its wartime factories.

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