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After the FallGerman Policy in Occupied France, 1940-1944$
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Thomas J. Laub

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199539321

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199539321.001.0001

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Setting the Precedent

Setting the Precedent

Chapter:
(p.71) 3 Setting the Precedent
Source:
After the Fall
Author(s):

Thomas J. Laub

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199539321.003.0004

‘Setting the precedent’ examines efforts by first the German embassy in Paris and later the Einsatzstab Rosenberg to confiscate works of art owned by Jews. Allegedly acting on instructions from Hitler, Ambassador Otto Abetz and diplomats attached to the German embassy in Paris began to confiscate objets d'art from wealthy French Jews immediately after the end of military operations. Citing international law that prohibited such actions, Franz Graf Wolff Metternich and the military administration complained to superiors and blocked diplomatic confiscations. With support from Himmler and Göring, the Einsatzstab Rosenberg (Special Action Staff Rosenberg) picked up where the German embassy in Paris left off, secured the right to confiscate Jewish property, and ransacked museums throughout occupied France. Distraught by the loss of France's artistic patrimony, leaders of the Vichy regime complained to Otto Abetz and the Military Commander in France to no avail. In March of 1942, Hitler ignored French protests, described attacks against Jews as an essential part of the war effort, and revealed his role in the confiscation of Jewish property.

Keywords:   international law, confiscation, art, Jews, Jewish property, Einsatzstab Rosenberg, Otto Abetz, German Embassy in Paris, Franz Graf Wolff Metternich

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