How to Accept German Reparations
392 pages | 6 x 9 | 18 illus.
Cloth May 2014 | ISBN 978-0-8122-4606-3 | $69.95s | £45.50 | Add to cart
Ebook May 2014 | ISBN 978-0-8122-0965-5 | $69.95s | £45.50 | About | Add to cart
A volume in the Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights series
In a landmark process that transformed global reparations after the Holocaust, Germany created the largest sustained redress program in history, amounting to more than 60 billion dollars. When human rights violations are presented primarily in material terms, then acknowledging an indemnity claim becomes one way for a victim to be recognized. At the same time, indemnifications provoke a number of difficult questions about how suffering and loss can be measured: How much is an individual life worth? How much or what kind of violence merits compensation? What is "financial pain," and what does it mean to monetize "concentration camp survivor syndrome"?
Susan Slyomovics explores this and other compensation programs, both those past and those that might exist in the future, through the lens of anthropological and human rights discourse. How to account for variation in German reparations and French restitution directed solely at Algerian Jewry for Vichy-era losses? Do crimes of colonialism merit reparations? How might reparations models influenced by the German example apply to the modern-day conflict in Israel and Palestine? The author points to the examples of her grandmother and mother, Czechoslovakian Jews who survived the Auschwitz, Plaszow, and Markkleeberg camps together but disagreed about applying for the post-World War II Wiedergutmachung ("to make good again") reparation programs. Slyomovics maintains that we can use the legacies of German reparations to reconsider approaches to reparations in the future, and the result is an investigation of practical implications, complicated by the difficult legal, ethnographic, and personal questions that reparations inevitably prompt.
Susan Slyomovics is Professor of Anthropology and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is also author of The Object of Memory: Arab and Jew Narrate the Palestinian Village and The Performance of Human Rights in Morocco, and coeditor of Women and Power in the Middle East, all available from University of Pennsylvania Press.