- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 13, 2001

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A German firm that is paying reparations to laborers forced to work by the Nazis owns the construction company hired to build the World War II Memorial on the Mall.
Charlotte-based J.A. Jones Inc. was bought in 1979 by Frankfurt-based Philipp Holzmann AG, one of many companies that have contributed to a $4.3 billion German government-industry fund to compensate an estimated 1.2 million aging survivors of Nazi forced and slave labor.
Last week, J.A. Jones and a Maryland firm were awarded the $56 million contract to build the memorial.
"Anyone who questions the patriotism of J.A. Jones is simply misguided," said company President John D. Bond III.
"This is not going to be built by Holzmann. Holzmann is not going to be anywhere near the monument," he said.
Mr. Bond said J.A. Jones won contracts in the years before and during World War II to build nine military bases in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina, and more than 200 ships and buildings for the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bomb.
Philipp Holzmann owns the stock of J.A. Jones, which has $3 billion in revenue annually, but does not control its management, Mr. Bond said.
Philipp Holzmanns exact role during the 1930s and 1940s is not clear, but Mr. Bond noted that the Nazi Party, in power at the time, nationalized the entire German construction industry.
"In my view, as long as [Philipp Holzmann is] willing to contribute to the fund, this is quasi-recognition that they are trying to redeem themselves," said Auschwitz survivor Susan Cernyak-Spatz, a University of North Carolina at Charlotte professor who teaches about the Holocaust. "Im not saying 'forget and forgive, but as far as these companies go, everything is so intertwined today its hard to avoid it."
During World War II, the Nazis forced millions of citizens of conquered nations — mainly in Eastern Europe — to work without pay at concentration camps, factories and farms, often in life-threatening conditions.
The German parliament voted last month to begin making compensation payments. The companies received the protection from lawsuits they had demanded in exchange for putting up half the money for the compensation fund. The government is giving the other half.
The U.S. government agency that awarded the memorial contract to J.A. Jones said it was aware of its parent companys nationality.
"Neither the American Battle Monuments Commission nor General Services Administration has the authority to discriminate against American firms based upon the nationality of parent or grandparent corporations," said commission spokesman Mike Conley. "Moreover, such discrimination would be inconsistent with the principles for which the World War II generation sacrificed."
Although government agencies are coordinating construction, private donors are covering most of the cost of the memorial.

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