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.