During the Holocaust, in most European countries a widescale property transfer took place: while local Jewish populations were segregated in ghettos and deported to Eastern European territories or were executed on the spot, their property was confiscated by the occupiers or the state, redistributed to non-Jewish individuals, organizations, and state institutions, or plundered by local non-Jews.
After the war, when the survivors returned and tried to recover their properties, they were often met with reluctance or even open hostility both by the relevant authorities and the non-Jewish owners of their confiscated apartments and valuables. Furthermore, early restitution was hindered by a complex set of factors. In post-war Europe, most countries struggled with economic problems, which was aggravated by the destruction of the war. In several places, anti-Semitism did not cease with the end of the war, and the complete restitution of Jewish property would have led to further anti-Jewish atrocities. This reason was often used by politicians to postpone restitution measures. It was also difficult to retrieve goods taken abroad, especially from enemy countries.
While in Central and Eastern Europe the issue of restitution was swept under the carpet with the coming to power of communist regimes, in Western European countries the concept of the restitution of material assets was soon complemented with moral compensation for various violations of human rights. In 1951, the Claims Conference was founded and various compensation programs, as well as self-aid and self-representative organizations were established.
A new wave of restitution and compensation processes started with the collapse of the Soviet Union. This time, Central and Eastern European countries also had to face the past and deal with the complex questions of collective and individual restitution. Many of the survivors living in these countries, received compensation for the first time in their life.
A special dossier of the Eastern European Holocaust Studies journal’s forthcoming issue, will address "An Unconcluded Story – Restitution and Compensation After the Holocaust". Articles of 7,000 words (including references) in English or Ukrainian are invited. Possible themes include (but are not restricted to) the following:
Theoretical background, terms connected to restitution and compensation;
National histories of expropriation and restitution;
Legal background of restitution and compensation; its changes over time;
Continuities of institutions, terms, procedures from expropriation to restitution;
Microhistories of restitution: experiences of individuals or groups;
The effect of Jewish efforts to recover valuables on Jewish – non-Jewish relations;
Oral histories of restitution and compensation;
Gendered aspect of restitution;
Compensation for the Jewish victims of medical experiments, forced laborers and other victim groups;
Comparative history of restitution; international, transnational processes;
History of the Claims Conference and/or local agents, organizations of self-representation and self-aid;
History of national and/or transnational foundations, organizations providing/distributing restitution;
Rehabilitation, social services for survivors, compensation paid for taking care of Jewish heritage;
Restitution for Roma survivors;
Problems, disadvantages of restitution processes;
Cultural restitution: memory and the limits of private property
War losses and the problem of restitution of Hebraica and Judaica in Eastern European libraries
Psychological aspect of restitution, etc.
We welcome both traditional theoretical and methodological approaches and newer perspectives. To submit an article, please send an abstract (max. 500 words) and a bio note (max. 100 words) by 15 March 2023 to Viktoria Soloshenko and Borbála Klacsmann at firstname.lastname@example.org. Authors will be notified of acceptance shortly. Full articles will be expected by 1 November 2023.
Eastern European Holocaust Studies: Interdisciplinary Journal of the BYHMC provides an outlet for researchers dealing with the history of the Holocaust and the Second World War in Central and Eastern Europe – and as such, aims to contribute to the incorporation of both the modern and contemporary history of this territory and the topic of the aftermath of the war into the international academic scene. While research on conflict and genocide in Eastern Europe has become increasingly prevalent, only a handful of scholars have dealt with post-war issues connected to the Holocaust and the war, therefore the editorial team aims at inspiring new investigations and publications on these topics.