Jewish Cultural Property after 1945
Eds. by Elisabeth Gallas, Anna Holzer-Kawalko, Caroline Jessen, and Yfaat Weiss
221 pp., 70 colored figs.
Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2020
In the wake of the Nazi regime’s policies, European Jewish cultural property was dispersed, dislocated, and destroyed. Books, manuscripts, and artworks were either taken by their fleeing owners and were transferred to different places worldwide, or they fell prey to systematic looting and destruction under German occupation. Until today, a significant amount of items can be found in private and public collections in Germany as well as abroad with an unclear or disputed provenance. Contested Heritage. Jewish Cultural Property after 1945 illuminates the political and cultural implications of Jewish cultural property looted and displaced during the Holocaust.
The volume includes seventeen essays, accompanied by newly discovered archival material and illustrations, which examine the fate of Jewish books, manuscripts, and artworks during and after the Nazi regime: from the shifting meaning and character of the objects themselves, the so-called object biographies, their restitution processes after 1945, conflicting ideas about their appropriate location, political interests in their preservation, actors and networks involved in salvage operations, to questions of intellectual and cultural transfer processes revolving around the moving objects and their literary resonances.