Author Archive

RJ Julia Bookstore

It was a full house at the lovely RJ Julia bookstore on the Boston Post Road, Madison, CT this evening.

The audience paid close attention while I spoke and then asked some excellent questions. What they wanted to know was whether I had found ordinary Germans willing to be helpful, what had happened to the family’s Wannsee villa, the role of German insurance companies during the Third Reich, how the internet had assisted me in my research and if I had considered laying Stolpersteine at sites in Berlin mentioned in the book.

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Wiener Library, London

The Wiener Library hosted the UK book launch this evening of “Fashion Metropolis Berlin 1836-1939: The Story of the Rise and Destruction of the Jewish Fashion Industry”.  Author, Uwe Westphal, has spent thirty years researching the subject and gathering information from around the world, both in archives and in personal conversations with witnesses of the time.

As I contributed a chapter, on the history of the H. Wolff international fur fashion company, we did a joint presentation.  We showed over 70 slides of photos and video clips to illustrate  the tragic story of the demise of the once glorious Berlin fashion industry and how the Nazis destroyed it.

The event was sold out!

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Dr Kurt Hamann Foundation Renamed!

Mannheim University’s FORUM magazine interviewed me for an article entitled “An Awkward Legacy” in which I tell the story of what I discovered in the course of researching “Stolen Legacy”.

This is the culmination of many years of research into the past of Dr. Kurt Hamann – one-time head of the Victoria Insurance Company which foreclosed on my family’s property in 1937.  Dr. Hamann had a foundation named in his honor at the university.  The result of my investigations was to uncover his unsavory history during the Third Reich – which led to the university deciding to rename the foundation.

Read all about it.

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Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Munich


Today in Munich at the Institut für Zeitgeschichte – Institute of Contemporary History – speaking at a seminar for provenance researchers.

The Freie University of Berlin has devised a training course for museum staff and I was invited to talk about the meaning of restitution for families whose possessions were stolen, or acquired cheaply at auction, during the Third Reich.

I took along a few items of silverware passed down the generations from my grandmother to my mother and now to me.  Audience members enjoyed handling them and spotting the family initial engraved on the cake server as well as the fish knives and forks.  And they could also see the name of the manufacturer, the famous Berlin firm of Friedlaender Brothers, once jewelers to the Kaiser.

 

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Ging Wong Seminar

Delivering this term’s lecture today as part of the Ging Wong Seminar Series at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University.

The purpose of this lecture series is to give graduate students an insight into the world of work – which they are soon to enter.  I was asked to speak about my time at the college, what the experience had taught me, my career after leaving Oxford, any advice I might be able to offer about pursuing jobs in journalism and what had prompted me to write a book.

 

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Stolen Legacy is published by the American Bar Association and distributed by National Book Network.

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