BY TOM TUGEND, contributing editor

A network of volunteers from many of the nation’s leading law firms, recruited through a Los Angeles initiative, is helping to write what appears to be the last chapter in the long and contentious history of reparations to Holocaust victims.

The windup comes none too soon for the estimated 50,000 to 75,000 remaining eligible survivors around the world, most now in their 80s and 90s.

Credit for this development goes to pressure applied by American organizations and legislators, as well as some energetic red tape-cutting by the present German government.

The ghetto work reparations program applies to a little-known class of Jews who worked in the Nazi-run ghettos of Eastern Europe on a “voluntary” or “at-will” basis.

Such “volunteers” were compensated by meager payments or an extra loaf of bread and may have had little actual choice if they wanted to survive, but they were differentiated from “forced laborers.”