Jewish Claims against East Germany

Moral Obligations and Pragmatic Policy
$79.00 / €69.00 / £63.00
Publication date: 
280 pages

This is the first comprehensive history of Jewish negotiations with East Germany regarding restitution and reparations for Nazi war crimes. Angelika Timm analyzes the politics of old and new anti-Semitism and the context in which they grew under the officially propagated ideology of antifascism.

Investigating the mass of unpublished, newly available archival data from the United States, Israel, and the former German Democratic Republic, and more than forty personal interviews, Timm fills a critical gap in the scholarship on postwar Germany. She analyzes the role of the Holocaust and the image of Jews in the historical consciousness and political culture of East Germany and chronicles the efforts of Jewish organizations, especially the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, to negotiate reparations with the East German state. The unique relationship between ideology and Realpolitik defined the manner in which East Germany confronted the crimes of its past and allowed anti-Semitism to reemerge.


1 Background

The Impact of the Holocaust on Jewish Life

Political Developments in East Germany

2 Jews in East Germany

The Jewish Community: Recovery and Restitution

The Attitude of the SED toward Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust

The Reality of Anti-Semitism

Restitution and Compensation during the Early

Postwar Years

3 Initial Talks and Negotiations

Jewish Material Claims against Germany

The Response of the East German Political Elite

International Recognition of the GDR and Initial Talks with the Claims Conference

American Claims against the GDR

Diplomatic Negotiations

4 New Accents in the Eighties

Priorities of East German Foreign Policy

The Package Deal

The World Jewish Congress in Action 143; Political Changes in Germany, 1989-90

The Burdened Relationship between the GDR and the State of Israel

Confronting the Past

5 Outlook and Conclusions

Unification and Attempts to Settle the Claims Issue








"Timm fills the vacuum with a detailed, well-written account of negotiations over several decades on restitution to Jewish victims of Nazi persecution - a first-rate work of historical research."
"I know of no other study that addresses this theme in this depth and in this impartial and fair fashion. Indeed, no other study comes close."