Anti-Semite – or not?

That is the question posed by Uwe Westphal in his piece for the Times of Israel entitled: He Helped Nazis Rob Jews: How is he ‘not an anti-Semite’?

Following the revelations contained in “Stolen Legacy” the University of Mannheim decided to change the name of the foundation and annual prize named in honor of Dr. Kurt Hamann – former chairman of the Victoria Insurance Company.  Today it is called the Foundation for the Promotion of Insurance Science.

The once-secret report – commissioned by the university into the wartime role of Dr. Hamann – has now been released to the public.

Mr. Westphal’s question is spot on.  The report’s author, Prof. Dr. Johannes Baehr, concluded that despite numerous instances of where Dr. Hamann  “obviously had no scruples at all about doing business in which the Victoria profited from the persecution of the Jews” nevertheless “There’s no doubt [Dr. Hamann] was not an anti-Semite.”

A press release by the university at the time of taking its decision about a name change stated:

“…under Hamann’s chairmanship, the Victoria demonstrably took many properties from Jewish owners… With the change of name, the University of Mannheim would like to set an example; any person who lends his name to a prize awarded to excellent young academics should also be able to serve as an ethical role model.” 

Anti-Semite or not?  You decide.


Stolen Legacy is published by the American Bar Association and distributed by Ingram.

Paperback: 328 pages   |   Language: English
ISBN: 978-1634254274
Includes book club discussion questions.