Comparative context for understanding the experience of the German Jewry in the wake of Nazi plundering, racism, and genocide


This collection of essays by a range of international, multidisciplinary scholars explores the financial history, social significance, and cultural meanings of the theft, starting in 1933, of assets owned by German Jews. Despite the fraught topic and the ongoing legal discussions, the subject has not received much scholarly attention until now. This volume offers a much needed contribution to our understanding of the history of the period and the acts. The essays examine the confiscatory taxation of Jewish property, the looting of art and confiscation of gold, the role of German freight forwarders in property theft, salesmen and dispossession in the retail world, theft from the elderly, and the complicity of the banking industry, as well as the reach of the practice beyond German borders.

Christoph Kreutzmüller is a Senior Historian of the House of the Wannsee-Conference, Berlin

Jonathan R. Zatlin is Associate Professor of History at Boston University.

“This is an incredibly important subject overall and the component parts are each significant contributions to their respective fields. While there is no shortage of work on the Holocaust and Nazi Germany, this is among the more integrative works that deal with not exclusively the perpetration of the Holocaust per se but also the responses of victims, and reveals the human cost of this dispossession.”
—Michael Berkowitz, University College London

- Michael Berkowitz

"Dispossession approaches Nazism from a perspective rarely studied: how the government, businesses, and individuals robbed Jews not only of their social and political standing, but of their livelihoods and property. This valuable collection addresses a wide spectrum of dispossession, from confiscatory taxation of Jewish incomes and property to deceiving elderly Jews into signing away their last assets for a supposed 'retirement' home—in a concentration camp. This book is an indispensable resource for understanding how Nazi Germany stole whatever resources remained to Jews before murdering them."
—Marion Kaplan, author of Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany and Hitler’s Jewish Refugees: Hope and Anxiety in Portugal.

- Marion Kaplan