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Robbery and Restitution: The Conflict over Jewish Property in Europe

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Volume 9

War and Genocide

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Robbery and Restitution

The Conflict over Jewish Property in Europe

Edited by Martin Dean, Constantin Goschler and Philipp Ther
Published in Association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM)

308 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-082-3 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (May 2007)

ISBN  978-1-84545-593-4 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (September 2008)

eISBN 978-0-85745-564-2 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“…offers an extremely useful survey and an indispensable tool…for anyone seeking to develop a grasp of the issues at stake.” • Journal of Modern History

Robbery and Restitution adds to the excellent reputation of Berghahn’s Studies on War and Genocide series under the general editorship of Omer Bartov and Dirk Moses. Readers familiar with the series know that it summarizes the most recent research on such topics as “the Massacre in History,” “Nazi Extermination Policies,” and “Genocide and Religion.” One of the latest volumes, Robbery and Restitution is essential reading for all Holocaust scholars…I recommend this book to all serious scholars. A brief review cannot do justice to the subtlety of the arguments, but these excellent essays greatly advance our understanding of the complex issues.” • Holocaust and Genocide Studies

“A well-structured, ambitious collection of essays, it will certainly be an essential read for anyone interested in the anti-Jewish policies of National Socialist Germany and their long-term consequences for postwar Europe.” • H-German


The robbery and restitution of Jewish property are two inextricably linked social processes. It is not possible to understand the lawsuits and international agreements on the restoration of Jewish property of the late 1990s without examining what was robbed and by whom. In this volume distinguished historians first outline the mechanisms and scope of the European-wide program of plunder and then assess the effectiveness and historical implications of post-war restitution efforts. Everywhere the solution of legal and material problems was intertwined with changing national myths about the war and conflicting interpretations of justice. Even those countries that pursued extensive restitution programs using rigorous legal means were unable to compensate or fully comprehend the scale of Jewish loss. Especially in Eastern Europe, it was not until the collapse of communism that the concept of restoring some Jewish property rights even became a viable option. Integrating the abundance of new research on the material effects of the Holocaust and its aftermath, this comparative perspective examines the developments in Germany, Poland, Italy, France, Belgium, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Martin Dean is a Research Scholar at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). He is the author of Collaboration in the Holocaust, published in association with the USHMM in 2000, and of several articles on the confiscation of Jewish property. From 1992 to 1997 he worked as Senior Historian for the Metropolitan Police War Crimes Unit.

Constantin Goschler teaches modern history at the Humboldt-University, Berlin. He also taught at the universities of Prague, Jena and Bochum. His main fields of interest are transitional justice in the 20th century, history of science and the history of political ideas in the 19th century. He published several articles and books on restitution and indemnification for Nazi victims.

Philipp Ther teaches modern Central and Eastern European History at the European University Frankfurt/Oder, Germany. His fields of interest are comparative nationalism studies, migrations and "ethnic cleansing", postwar social history of Central Europe and most recently the history of opera theatres in the long 19th century.

Subject: Jewish Studies Genocide Studies
Area: Europe Germany


List of Abbreviations

Part I: Introduction

Introduction: A History without Boundaries: The Robbery and Restitution of Jewish Property in Europe
Constantin Goschler and Philipp Ther

Part II: The Robbery of Jewish Property in Comparative Perspective

Chapter 1. The Seizure of Jewish Property in Europe: Comparative Aspects of Nazi Methods and Local Responses
Martin Dean

Chapter 2. Aryanization and Restitution in Germany
Frank Bajohr

Chapter 3. The Looting of Jewish Property in Occupied Western Europe: A Comparative Study of Belgium, France, and the Netherlands
Jean-Marc Dreyfus

Chapter 4. The Robbery of Jewish Property in Eastern Europe under German Occupation, 1939–1942
Dieter Pohl

Chapter 5. The Robbery of Jewish Property in Eastern European States Allied with Nazi Germany
Tatjana Tönsmeyer

Part III: The Restitution of Jewish Property in Comparative Perspective

Chapter 6. West Germany and the Restitution of Jewish Property in Europe
Jürgen Lillteicher

Chapter 7. Jewish Property and the Politics of Restitution in Germany after 1945
Constantin Goschler

Chapter 8. Two Approaches to Compensation in France: Restitution and Reparation
Claire Andrieu

Chapter 9. The Expropriation of Jewish Property and Restitution in Belgium
Rudi van Doorslaer

Chapter 10. Indifference and Forgetting: Italy and its Jewish Community, 1938–1970
Ilaria Pavan

Chapter 11. “Why Switzerland?” – Remarks on a Neutral’s Role in the Nazi Program of Robbery and Allied Postwar Restitution Policy
Regula Ludi

Chapter 12. The Hungarian Gold Train: Fantasies of Wealth and the Madness of Genocide
Ronald W. Zweig

Chapter 13. Reluctant Restitution: The Restitution of Jewish Property in the Bohemian Lands after the Second World War
Eduard Kubu and Jan Kuklík Jr.

Chapter 14. The Polish Debate on the Holocaust and the Restitution of Property
Dariusz Stola

Part IV: Concluding Remarks

Conclusion: Reflections on the Restitution and Compensation of Holocaust Theft: Past, Present, and Future
Gerald D. Feldman

Notes on Contributors
Select Bibliography

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