LONDON (CNNfn) - About 150 protesters demanding better compensation for Holocaust victims Wednesday confronted shareholders of IG Farben, the former German chemical company responsible for the lethal Zyklon B gas used in Nazi death camps.
The protests came as the shareholders of the remaining shell entity, known as IG Farbenindustrie, convened in Frankfurt to vote on a compensation fund for Holocaust survivors.
The protesters reportedly want IG Farbenindustrie to donate all of its estimated 30 million marks ($16.14 million) in assets to a war-compensation fund. The shareholders are said to be considering only one-tenth of that amount.
IG Farben, the world's fourth-largest company until its liquidation in 1952, has been battling to reclaim assets that were seized by the Allies after World War II. Among those assets are 17 factories in the former East Germany.
Much of IG Farben's confiscated property was subsequently nationalized by the Soviet-era government of the now defunct East Germany. Until recently, these assets were effectively beyond the legal grasp of IG Farbenindustrie.
After the war, IG Farben splintered into the modern-day German firms BASF, Bayer and Hoechst. Today, the company's sole mandate is to dissolve itself.
The protests mark the latest in a series of actions over the past couple of years aimed at pressuring historically-suspect companies to acknowledge -- and address -- the darker sides of their wartime pasts.
Several large German firms, including Volkswagen, have established funds in recent months as part of what they call humanitarian efforts to compensate "slave laborers" dragooned into wartime service.
A group of prominent European insurers recently denied they had reached a definitive agreement with representatives of Holocaust survivors on outstanding claims from life-insurance policies sold before 1946 to victims of the Nazi regime.
IG Farbenindustrie has been forced in the past to cancel annual shareholder meetings amid threats of protest. Some hotels or other establishments have shied away from providing a venue for the meetings.
IG Farbenindustrie officials could not be immediately be reached Wednesday.
--from staff and wire reports