One-Day Symposium, March 22, 2001
Though economic discrimination and the seizure of Jewish property were integral parts of the Holocaust, until recently research on this dimension of Nazi anti-Jewish persecution has lagged behind other areas of Holocaust studies. This program is a unique opportunity to hear from eleven scholars whose research in newly released archival materials has advanced the study of the confiscation of Jewish property by the Third Reich and its European allies. The speakers examine the institutions charged with implementing confiscation policies, the manner in which Jewish assets were seized, and the perspectives of those whose property was confiscated. Also considered are the possibilities for future research as well as potential barriers to it.
Session I: Opening Remarks
Introductory Comments—Paul A. Shapiro, Director, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Paul A. Shapiro is Director, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, USHMM. He served earlier as Assistant to the Museum Director for Special Projects. Before joining the Museum, Mr. Shapiro was involved for over a decade in the development of the Museum’s archival collections. A specialist in the Holocaust in Romania and a former editor of the Journal of International Affairs (New York) and Problems of Communism (Washington), Mr. Shapiro holds degrees in government, international affairs, and history from Harvard University and Columbia University.
Confiscation of Jewish Assets and the Holocaust—Gerald D. Feldman, Professor, Department of History, and Director, Center for German and European Studies, University of California, Berkeley and Director, Institute of European Studies
Gerald D. Feldman is Professor, Department of History, and Director, Center for German and European Studies, University of California, Berkeley. An expert in German history and economic history, Professor Feldman has published a number of important books, including The Great Disorder: Politics, Economics, and Society in the German Inflation, 1914–1924 (1993) and the now-classic Army, Industry and Labor in Germany, 1914–1918 (1966). Professor Feldman has recently turned his attention to Nazi confiscation policies and is currently completing a study of the German insurance industry, Allianz and the German Insurance Business, 1933–1945.
Session II: Institutions of Confiscation
The Finanzamt Moabit-West and the Development of the Property-Confiscation Infrastructure—Martin C. Dean, Research Scholar, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Martin C. Dean is a Research Scholar at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), and author of Collaboration in the Holocaust: Crimes of the Local Police in Belorussia and Ukraine, 1941–1944 (2000), published in association with the USHMM. He is coordinating the preparation of German-Administered Ghettos, which is volume two of the Center’s Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos in Nazi Germany and Nazi-Dominated Territories, 1933–1945, a project supported by the Helen Bader Foundation.
The Supervision and Plunder of Jewish Finances by the Regional Financial Administration: The Example of Westphalia—Alfons Kenkmann, Director, Villa ten Hompel Memorial Institute, Münster, and Lecturer, University of Dortmund
Alfons Kenkmann is Director, Villa ten Hompel Memorial Institute, Münster, and Lecturer, University of Dortmund, Germany. He is the author of numerous publications, including Wilde Jugend (1996), a study of alternative youth culture in twentieth-century Germany. He is the editor of Villa ten Hompel: Sitz der Ordnungspolizei im Dritten Reich (1996) and, together with Bernd A. Rusineck, of the recent collection of essays Verfolgung und Verwaltung (1999), which is linked to the exhibition that he organized in Münster on financial confiscation in Westphalia during the Third Reich.
Property Seizures from Poles and Jews: The Activities of the Haupttreuhandstelle Ost—Jeanne Dingell, Doctoral Candidate, Technical University, Berlin
Jeanne Dingell is a doctoral candidate in modern history at the Technical University, Berlin. Ms. Dingell studied Eastern European history at Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg, Germany, and received her master’s degree from the Free University, Berlin. She has authored a number of scholarly articles on Nazi forced-labor and confiscation policies and is currently completing her PhD dissertation on the Nazi seizure of property in occupied western Poland.
Session III: Country Studies
Seizure of Jewish Property in Romania—Jean Ancel, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
Jean Ancel is an independent historian based in Jerusalem. A leading expert on the Holocaust in Romania, Dr. Ancel has been instrumental in bringing attention to the history of Romanian antisemitism and the persecution of Romanian Jewry. He is coeditor of The Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities in Romania (in Hebrew, 1980), editor of the 12-volume Documents Concerning the Fate of Romanian Jewry during the Holocaust (1986), and author of The Comprehensive History of the Holocaust in Romania, to be published by Yad Vashem later this year.
Nazi Looting of Antwerp’s Jewish Diamond Merchants—Eric Laureys, Historian, War and Contemporary Society Research Center, Brussels
Eric Laureys is Historian, War and Contemporary Society Research Center, Brussels. After earning a master’s degree in contemporary history from the Free University in Brussels, Mr. Laureys participated in the founding of the Institute of the Mediterranean and Arabic World in Antwerp, Belgium. He turned his attention in 1996 to the history of German-occupied Belgium, particularly focusing on the looting of Jewish assets by the Nazis. Mr. Laureys is the author of several scholarly articles and is currently in the process of completing his PhD thesis, “German Diamond Policy in Occupied Belgium, 1940–1944.”
Franco-German Rivalry and "Aryanization" as the Creation of a New Policy in France, 1940–1944—Jean-Marc Dreyfus, Doctoral Candidate, University of the Sorbonne, Paris, and Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellow, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Jean-Marc Dreyfus is a doctoral candidate in cultural and social history at the University of the Sorbonne, Paris. A specialist on “Aryanization” policies in Nazi-occupied France, Mr. Dreyfus is the author of several articles, including “Jewish Bankers in France between 1929 and 1962” and “The Banque de France and Banks in Occupied France.” He is the 2000 Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellow at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Session IV: Victim Perspectives
Expropriation of the Property of Jewish Emigrants from Hessen during the 1930s—Susanne Meinl, Historian, Fritz-Bauer Institute, Frankfurt am Main
Susanne Meinl is Historian, Fritz-Bauer Institute, Frankfurt am Main. She received her PhD from Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany, after completing her dissertation, "The Free Corps Movement and the National Conservative Resistance against Hitler." A specialist on the anti-Hitler resistance in Germany, Dr. Meinl is author of National Socialists against Hitler (in German), as well as several scholarly articles on antisemitism and right-wing political organizations in Weimar Germany. She is currently conducting a study of the plunder and expropriation of Jewish assets in the German state of Hessen.
Economic Discrimination and Confiscation: The Case of Jewish Real Estate—Britta Bopf, Doctoral Candidate, Friedrich-Wilhelm University, and Curator, Museum of the History of the German Federal Republic, Bonn
Britta Bopf is a doctoral candidate at the Friedrich-Wilhelm University, Bonn, studying economic history and political science. Her dissertation, "The Discrimination against and Removal of Jewish Property Owners, 1933–1944," examines the economic persecution of Jews in Germany from the first days of the Third Reich to the murder of German Jewry during the war. Ms. Bopf is currently a curator at the Museum of the History of the German Federal Republic, Bonn.
Jewish Cultural Property and Its Postwar Recovery—Elisabeth M. Yavnai, Doctoral Candidate, London School of Economics and Political Science
Elisabeth M. Yavnai is a doctoral candidate in international history at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her dissertation, "The U.S. Army Trials of Nazi War Criminals in Postwar Germany," has provided new research that is being used to update the expanded exhibition at the Dachau Memorial Museum. Ms. Yavnai is also a member of the United States Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets, researching the fate of European Jewish cultural objects looted by the Nazis.
Session V: Summary and Conclusions
Summary and Conclusions—Peter Hayes, Theodore Z. Weiss Professor of Holocaust Studies, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, and Member, Academic Committee, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
Peter Hayes is Theodore Zev Weiss Chair of Holocaust Studies and Professor of History, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, and Member, Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. He is the author of the prize-winning Industry and Ideology: IG Farben in the Nazi Era (1987; second edition by Cambridge University Press, 2001) and editor of Lessons and Legacies, Volume I: The Meaning of the Holocaust in a Changing World (Northwestern University Press, 1991). He is currently completing a book on Degussa AG, a chemical company involved in the production of Zyklon B in the Nazi period.