Book

Gerard Aalders

Nazi looting

De ontvreemding van joods bezit tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog

An excellent and extensive overview of the annexation of Jewish property during World War II

Since the World Jewish Congress laid claim to Jewish assets in Switzerland in 1995, attention has focused on the Nazi plundering of the property of European Jews. After years of research, Gerard Aalders has now written a clear overview of the plundering perpetrated by the Germans in the European countries they occupied.

Aalders grants special attention to the role of the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (Reich Leader Rosenberg’s Special Task Force), which added tens of thousands of paintings and other works of art to the private collections of Hitler, Goering and other Nazi leaders. Field Marshall Goering was justified in referring to himself as ‘Europe’s greatest art collector’. Yet the Germans hid their thieving behind a veil of legality.

Aalders describes how, in the Netherlands, the bureaucratically refined methodology of the German annexation process successfully separated Jews from their possessions before deporting them to the extermination camps. The German ordinances were well-tailored to existing Dutch formalities, which only increased the readiness of Dutch officialdom to assist in robbing the Jews, and paved the way for their ultimately smooth deportation.

The role of the banks, the stock exchange and insurance companies in particular, who ‘bowed before Mammon’, as Aalders puts it, is revealed. This, the greatest robbery in history, is also placed in the broader context of the Holocaust. With this study, therefore, a major blank spot in the historical accounts of the Second World War and the Holocaust has now been filled in.

The book’s value lies primarily in Aalders’ attempt to write the missing standard work on the pilfering of Jewish property, complete with excellent indexes, extensive notes and useful appendices.

NRC Handelsblad

Aalders’ great achievement is his detailed reconstruction and, wherever possible, quantification of all those discreet and less-discreet regulations and actions aimed at separating Jews from their property. The book is the result of impressive national and international research.

Vrij Nederland

Translations

Gerard Aalders

Gerard Aalders is Senior Researcher at the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation (NIOD) in Amsterdam. Along with Cees Wiebes, he wrote The Art of Cloaking Ownership (Amsterdam University Press, 1996), a study of the secret collaboration of neutrals with German war industries, which has been…

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Details

Roof. De ontvreemding van joods bezit tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog (1999). Non-fiction, 332 pages.
Copies sold: 5,000

With illustrations, notes and references

Publisher

SDU Uitgevers

Chr. Plantijnstraat 2
NL - 2500 TZ Den Haag
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 70 3789811
Fax: +31 70 385 43 21

E-mail:
b.v.d.lecq@sdu.nl
Website:
http://www.sdu.nl

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