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Holocaust Justice: The Battle for Restitution in America's Courts

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0814799031
ISBN-10: 0814799035
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Historians estimate that the Nazis stole assets worth between $230 billion and $320 billion in today's dollars from Europe's Jews during the Holocaust. This included paintings, other artwork, jewelry, artifacts, and money. In the 50 years since the end of World War II, most of these Jewish victims have yet to be compensated for their losses. In 1996, Holocaust survivors and their heirs began successfully suing the three largest Swiss banks for failing to return money deposited with them on the eve of and during the war. As Bazyler shows, museums worldwide, including in the U.S, are holding art looted by the Nazis. The author, the son of Holocaust survivors, posits that the "real hero" is the American justice system, the only forum in the world where Holocaust claims can be heard today. In this lucid and compelling book, Bazyler documents the fight for restitution, its successes, and its failures. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

“An incisive work of legal history and an invaluable guide to the litigation involving Holocaust-era assets. Bazyler offers an elegant and up-to-date study that will prove indispensable for those interested in restitution law, the Holocaust, and the issue of historical injustice.“
-Jonathan Petropoulos,former Research Director, Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States.



“An indispensable guide to the complex and controversial struggle for justice in the aftermath of the Holocaust.”
-Michael Berenbaum,The University of Judaism



“A masterly study of the search for justice against long odds. Its analysis is compelling, its importance immense. It is also a fascinating read.”
-Daniel Jonah Goldhagen,author of Hitler’s Willing Executioners and A Moral Reckoning



“Michael Bazyler brings the passion of a child of Holocaust survivors and the tenacious investigative skills of a lawyer in addressing the complexities of Holocaust restitution. The result is courageous, provocative, and sobering.”
-Rabbi Abraham Cooper,Simon Wiesenthal Center



“This book should be read by everyone interested in how some measure of justice was obtained for victims of the Holocaust and about how issues of historical injustice should be addressed by the international community.”
-Paul Hoffman,Chair, Amnesty International

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 411 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814799035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814799031
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Holocaust Justice: The Battle For Restitution In America's Courts by Michael J. Bazyler (Professor of Law, Whittier Law School, Costa Mesa, California, and Fellow at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC) is a definitive analytical study of how the American courts and system of justice were used to address the mass-scale theft initiated by the Holocaust, which not only exterminated six billion Jews but also stole hundreds of billions in wealth and possessions from its Jewish victims. Since the end of World War II, this mass theft was further perpetrated and exacerbated by Swiss banks that refused to give the families of Holocaust survivors their due; Italian, Swiss, and German insurance policies that refused to pay on prewar policies; wrangling in the courts concerning art looted by the Nazis in wartime Europe, and more. An original and core addition to Holocaust Studies reference collections, Holocaust Justice is a thoughtful, informative, detailed, authoritative study of the ongoing battle for justice stretching decades after Nazi genocide was ended by the Allies along with the rest of the Third Reich.
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Format: Paperback
This is a clear, comprehensive well- written account of a search for justice and compensation for those whose property and possesions were stolen during the Holocaust. The author Michael Bazyler, who is Professor of Law at Whittier Law School in California and international law litigator, rightly notes the outset that the property crimes of the Holocaust, secondary to the murder of eleven million human beings, including six million Jews, are nonetheless of great significace. Bazyler makes a strong case for the historical importance and rightness of the search for compensation for the property loss.
For over five decades major international business firms in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany had ignored and covered up their role in property- crimes. The major banks of Switzerland, United Bank of Switzerland, Credit Suisse , and the Swiss Bank Corporation had been heartlessly cruel to individuals by refusing to acknowledge their bank accounts.In the course of the investigations the banks were proven to have collaborated with the Nazis in purchase of gold some of which was taken from the bodies of victims. The Swiss Government had traded with and so supported the Nazi regime.
Bazyler tells the story of the search for compensation in the United States Courts. It turns out that Justice could be attained not in any European courts but only in American ones. The willingness of the U.S. court system to hear these claims, the ability of U.S. government officials ( U.S, Senator Alfonse D'Amato and New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi played key roles ) enabled pressure to be applied to the Swiss government and firms. The tale of their shameful stonewalling, denial and attempt to escape from any honest dealing with the heirs of the bank account holders is a fascinating part of the story.
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Format: Paperback
And yet another book that has a very black and white vision of the events. All the random accusations are endorsed with enthusiasm without too much facts checking.
I was mostly interested on the Swiss section I am familiar with. The Swiss make wonderful villains with all the cheap stereotypes being rehashed. The comparison to the Nuremberg trial in this book is very inappropriate.
It is correct to analyze Switzerland's role during WW2, but the Swiss population is rightly outraged when the US, which has whitewashed and muted its own cooperation with the Nazis and has done very little to help Jewish refugees, takes the moral highground to judge Switzerland. Switzerland has paid much more than it ever kept in terms of unaccounted deposits ($1.3billion paid versus the $20million unaccounted for according to the Bergier commission) it still gets criticized constantly by self-righteous individuals like the author of this book.
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