AJCommittee names 257 firms that used slave labor

Up to now, the longest list, with names of 80 companies, was compiled by a German group known as Action Reconciliation.

Even the new list is far from final, according to a source close to the project.

The settlement negotiations have brought together representatives of Holocaust survivors, the German, U.S. and Eastern European governments, and about 50 German companies.

At the latest round of talks last month, the German side made what it described as its "final offer" — about $4.2 billion at current exchange rates. At that time, lawyers for the survivors climbed down significantly from their earlier demand of $28 billion.

The list that the AJCommittee released Tuesday may lead some negotiators to claim that the German side should increase its offer.

Wolfgang Gibowski, spokesman for German industry, said this week that "nobody knows" how many firms actually used slave laborers. "It might be 2,000 or 3,000."

The new list compiled by historians working with the AJCommittee will be released on the organization's Web site, www.ajc.org