Self-Financing Genocide: The Gold Train, the Becher Case and the Wealth of Hungarian Jews

Self-Financing Genocide: The Gold Train, the Becher Case and the Wealth of Hungarian Jews

Self-Financing Genocide: The Gold Train, the Becher Case and the Wealth of Hungarian Jews

Self-Financing Genocide: The Gold Train, the Becher Case and the Wealth of Hungarian Jews

Synopsis

"Recounts the economic annihilation of the Hungarian Jews, who - from an economic point of view - were most influential than any other Jewish community in Europe. Following the German occupation in March 1944, the collaborating Hungarian government attempted to assert its claim concerning the complete confiscation of Jewish assets at all stages along the road leading to the extermination camps. The book analyzes the role played by SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Kurt Becher, one of the most controversial and mysterious figures in the Hungarian and universal history of the Holocaust. Becher, delegated to Hungary by Himmler, administered and benefited from the confiscation of an enormous amount of Jewish assets." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Until the 1990s the looting of the wealth of Jews during the Second World War did not get the attention it deserved either in Hungarian or international writings about the Holocaust. Whereas with the collapse of Communism this situation changed in the western part of Europe and overseas, it remained essentially the same in the post-Socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe.

To this very day there has been no reconstruction of the economic annihilation of the Jews or exploration of its broader context, and no existing research findings have been set forth in book form. the authors of the present volume have come to the conclusion that even though they have not yet come to the end of their research on the topic, which has now occupied them for a number of years, it would probably be of some interest both to Hungarian and international readers to have the opportunity to examine their research findings regarding a number of details which the authors think are now unlikely to be decisively altered by future investigation. the authors’ choice of subject was of course influenced by the appearance of a large number of news reports and articles, as well as publications of both purely or mainly academic nature in recent years, both in Hungary and abroad, on the aspects they undertook to investigate.

The present book contains some of the findings on a topic which the authors began researching in 1999, since when we have had the opportunity to visit dozens of major archives in five countries: Hungary, the usa, Israel, Germany and Poland. After a few smaller publications, we published our initial results in the spring of 2001 in Budapest. Following the appearance in Hungarian of the volume entitled “The Gold Train— Chapters from the History of Jewish Wealth,” several distinguished scholars, recognized experts on the Holocaust both in Hungary and abroad, as well as colleagues, friends and readers have said that this book would probably create an interest outside Hungary as well. Now their wish and . . .

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