German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2050
Fax: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2055 / 7404 5573

URI: https://www.ghil.ac.uk

calendar & information

Breadcrumb navigation:

Objects and Emotions — Loss and Acquisition of Jewish Property

26-27 July 2010

International Conference organised by the German Historical Institute London and the Leo Baeck Institute London

Venue: German Historical Institut London

Countless objects owned by Jews were illegally appropriated in Germany between 1933 and 1945: houses, businesses, paintings, furniture, tablecloths, bric-a-brac. Some of these items were returned to their previous owners after 1945, not always voluntarily, but many were not. These objects are connected with emotions. But what were the emotional associations for the original Jewish owners on the one hand, and for the Aryanisers, buyers and their heirs on the other?

Emotions are linked to cultural values and moral principles. Feelings of shame and enjoyment, for instance, are both the result of learning processes that take place within a specific social, cultural and political context. Which values were associated with the appropriated objects by dispossessed Jews and by their new owners, and which kind of idea of morality and value did the heirs of the latter attach to them, knowing that these objects had been in their family’s possession only since the Nazis had come to power? What do these values and emotions tell us about the way the National Socialist past was dealt with both emotionally and materially?

This conference will investigate these questions emphasising in particular recent findings about how, in their private sphere, Germans tackled the questions of morality and emotions in relation to the appropriated and inherited possessions of the Nazi era. The conference approaches these questions from two different angles: from the perspective of the objects, reconstructing their history, theft and eventual return or non-return; and by studying the emotions linked with such objects from the Nazi era. Scholars from the UK, USA, Germany and the Netherlands will take part in this conference.

Workshop announcement (PDF file)
Workshop programme (PDF file)