Talking about “Stolen Legacy” at the Mandel JCC in Boynton Beach on October 30. This was the second event in Florida for The Gross Family Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.
Once again, it was such a full house that additional seating had to be carried in so that that everyone could be accommodated. And there were plenty of questions for me to answer.
Palm Beach Gardens
The Gross Family Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, a joint initiative with the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, invited me to participate in their 2017-2018 Speaker Series.
The first event of the season was held at the Mandel JCC, Palm Beach Gardens. It turned out to be so popular that more chairs had to be brought in. About 175 people attended.
It is always wonderful to have so many excellent questions and such an engaged audience.
Rose Valland Institute – Kassel
The Rose Valland Institute, an independent interdisciplinary project initiated by artist Maria Eichhorn within the context of documenta 14 (the art project held once every five years in Kassel, Germany), hosted a lecture and workshop on the fate of European property during the years 1933 to 1949. The Institute researches and documents the expropriation of Europe’s Jewish community and the ongoing impact of those confiscations.
And I was there speaking about “Stolen Legacy.”
Based in Kassel’s Neue Galerie, the Institute is named after art historian Rose Valland, who secretly recorded details of Nazi plundering of state-owned French and private Jewish-owned art from France during the German occupation of Paris. After the war, she worked for the Commission de Récupération Artistique (Commission for the Recovery of Works of Art) and played a decisive role in the restitution of Nazi-looted artworks.
The Rose Valland Institute investigates fundamental issues connected with ownership of artworks, property, real estate, assets, companies, moveable objects, libraries as well as scientific works and patents that were acquired by illegal means from Jewish citizens in Germany and the occupied countries during the Nazi era and have still not been returned.
The Institute is appealing to the public to research Nazi loot that may exist in their own inherited property and to submit their findings. The ultimate aim is to return that property to its rightful owners or their heirs.
Marla Allard, host of Maryland Public TV program “Relatively Speaking,” interviewed me about “Stolen Legacy.”
Here we are on set during the recording.
Stolen Legacy in Florida
It was a wonderful trip with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to three different cities in southern Florida – Sarasota, North Miami Beach and Boca Raton.
Two USHMM experts – Suzanne Brown-Fleming and Diane Afoumado – were with me speaking about the archives held at both the Museum in Washington DC and the International Tracing Service at Bad Arolson.
There was intense interest in the subject, with audiences keen to learn how to research their own family histories and seek information which might help them register claims on their own families’ Nazi stolen property across eastern Europe.
NPR recorded an interview with Diane Afoumado, Chief of Research and Reference at the Museum about resources available to help. There is still so much work to be done – about 80% of Jewish assets stolen by the Nazis and their collaborators during WWII have not been recovered.