Fighting for Justice after the Holocaust
How German-Jewish Exiles in Britain Shaped Post-War Restitution
Whereas the Holocaust has been a major topic for historical research since the 1980s, the analysis of how the Western Allies, the post-war German governments and Jewish organisations came to terms with this catastrophic event in the post-war decades has not received widespread attention. Against this background, this lecture will cover new ground by presenting the story of one the United Restitution organization (URO), a Jewish non-governmental organization founded by German-Jewish exiles in London in 1947. The goal of the URO was to enforce (and actually also create) the legal rights of Jewish and non-Jewish victims of the Nazi terror who overwhelmingly lived outside Germany, many of them in Israel, the United States and dispersed over the globe. Over the 1950s and 1960s, the URO became vitally important for several hundred thousand of Jewish claimants who obtained a total of more than 700 million US dollars from West Germany by 1969. The lecture will tell the remarkable story of the men behind URO and how they shaped post-war politics, history and memory.
Daniel Siemens is Professor of European History at Newcastle University. He is the author of Stormtroopers: A New History of Hitler’s Brownshirts (Yale UP, 2017); The Making of a Nazi Hero: The Murder and Myth of Horst Wessel (I.B.Tauris, 2013) and Metropole und Verbrechen: Die Gerichtsreportage in Berlin, Paris und Chicago, 1919-1933 (Steiner, 2007). His current research projects are a global history of the United Restitution Organisation (URO) and a biography of the German-Jewish journalist Hermann Budzislawski.