German firm makes home for Holocaust survivors | india | Hindustan Times
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German firm makes home for Holocaust survivors

india Updated: Aug 02, 2006 11:58 IST

The company that built Hitler's Berlin bunker is now building a retirement home serving mainly Holocaust survivors.

A former leader of Prague's once-thriving Jewish community said on Tuesday that the choice of the firm was unfortunate.

But Frantisek Banyai, the current head of the local Jewish community, said he wasn't worried by the company's past -- even though it built the bunker where Adolf Hitler killed himself on April 30, 1945, as well his Bavarian Alpine retreat, Berghof.

"We did not examine these things," Banyai said on Monday. "We opened a tender and they gave us the best price."

The Czech branch of Hochtief, Germany's largest construction company, started building the 200 million-koruna ($8.89 million) retirement home last month and plans to complete it within 18 months.

The facility will accommodate about 60 people and include a medical centre and daycare centre.

Banyai said he negotiated only with the company's Czech branch and does not expect the German headquarters t get involved. Hochtief AG acquired the Czech subsidiary in 2002.

The company has admitted to using slave labour during World War II. Past construction projects include Nazi Germany's "Westwall" line of defences and the "Atlantic Wall" in northern France, as well as Hitler's "Wolf's Lair" command headquarters in Rastenburg, then in Eastern Prussia, now Poland.

Tomas Jelinek, former chairman of the Prague Jewish community, said the choice of the construction firm was unfortunate.