Das Leo Baeck Institut hält die Geschichte und Kultur des deutschsprachigen Judentums lebendig.
The Schweitzer Fürstenheim Family
Summons to Berlin: Nazi Theft and a Daughter’s Quest for Justice
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With Rachel Blumenthal and Elizabeth Anthony
Annexed Austria led the way in the violent and systematic plunder of property owned by Jews. Adolf Eichmann developed a method of administrative pillage of Jewish property, later to be implemented in other Nazi-occupied countries. After the war, Karl Renner, the first president of the reconstituted state, set the tone when he explained that compensation of "every little Jewish merchant or peddler for his loss was inconceivable." Minister of Finance, Reinhard Kamitz, added that any kind of restitution was out of the question, because Austria did not cause any damage. Survivors who reclaimed their property encountered restitution laws that discriminated against Jews and administrators who favored former perpetrators over victims.
Rachel Blumenthal of the Research Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University and LBI Gerald Westheimer Career Development fellow will discuss her research into the Austrian model of postwar restitution with Elizabeth Anthony, Director of Visiting Scholar Programs at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in our program.
If you would like to attend this program virtually, please select the "Virtual Admission" option when reserving tickets on Eventbrite.
Rachel Blumenthal is a fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Jewry in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She was awarded a Ph.D. degree by the Hebrew University for her thesis on "The Claims Conference, the State of Israel and the Diaspora: 1951-1964." She is also a lawyer and has a second degree (magna cum laude) from Tel Aviv University. In August 2021, Lexington Books published her book, Right to Reparations: The Claims Conference and Holocaust Survivors, 1951-1964. Her second book is a collection of articles that she edited together with Daniel Herskowitz and Kerstin Mayerhofer entitled Constructing and Experiencing Jewish Identity and published by Brill in October 2022. It includes an article by Rachel on Holocaust survivors and Jewish identity in postwar Austria. She is now researching the topic of Austrian restitution and compensation for former Jewish citizens and residents. In 2022, the Leo Baeck Institute in New York awarded her the George Westheimer fellowship for her project on the Austrian model of restorative justice.
Elizabeth Anthony is the Director of Visiting Scholar Programs at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. Her book, The Compromise of Return: Viennese Jews after the Holocaust, was published by Wayne State University Press in 2021 and was a commended finalist for the Wiener Holocaust Library’s Ernst Fraenkel Book Prize. Anthony was co-editor of and a contributor to Freilegungen: Spiegelungen der NS-Verfolgung und ihrer Konsequenzen, Jahrbuch des International Tracing Service, the 2015 Yearbook of the International Tracing Service. She also has published chapters in Lessons and Legacies Volume XII (2017); The Future of Holocaust Memorialization: Confronting Racism, Antisemitism, and Homophobia through Memory Work (2015); and the Nürnberger Institut für NS-Forschung und jüdische Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts Jahrbuch 2010. Anthony received a PhD in history at Clark University in 2016 and also holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland. Among a number of fellowship awards, Anthony was the recipient of a Fulbright research grant (Austria) and a Mandel Center research fellowship.