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From Mon Apr 17 19:31:45 EDT 2000
Article: 234251 of soc.culture.canada
From: Grigori Khaskin 
Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish,soc.culture.israel,soc.culture.canada,soc.culture.europe
Subject: French looting during the WWII
Date: 17 Apr 2000 22:29:58 GMT
Organization: Simon Fraser University
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French auditors 'stunned' by extent of Nazis' looting of Jewish assets

April 17, 2000 
Web posted at: 11:25 AM EDT (1525 GMT) 

PARIS (AP) -- The French government on Monday acknowledged for the first
time that the confiscation of Jewish assets during World War II totaled
8.8 billion francs ($1.3 billion), but claimed that only 2 billion ($294
million) had not been returned to survivors or their heirs. 

The 3,000-page report prepared by a special government commission headed
by former French resistance fighter Jean Matteoli is France's answer to
charges that the nation has been unwilling to face its own role in the

The report outlined the collaborationist Vichy regime's systematic looting
of Jewish property -- from bank accounts and insurance policies to art
works and pianos -- as well as postwar restitution policies. 

"We discovered that the extent of the looting was far greater than we
thought, but the good news is that restitutions after the war were also
were greater than we had thought," historian Claire Andrieu told The
Associated Press. 

The Nazis emptied some 30,000 Jewish apartments, shipping the contents to
Germany. They also seized valuable art works owned by Jewish dealers and
collectors in a plan established long before the 1940 invasion. 

Vichy's anti-Jewish measures banned Jews from many professions and owning
businesses. Bank accounts were frozen, insurance policies and stock
certificates were confiscated. Some 50,000 Jewish-owned companies were
"aryanized" - turned over to non-Jews. 

Jews interned at French-run transit camps before being transferred to
Auschwitz were stripped of all personal possessions. Their valuables were
sold, the proceeds then turned over to the French national deposit bank,
which holds the funds today. 

"The most stunning aspect of our findings is the extent of the looting,"
historian Annette Wieviorka told The Associated Press. "Every Jew in
France was affected, from the poorest tailor to the richest art

About 76,000 Jews, including 12,000 children -- about a quarter of the
Jews living in France -- were deported from France to Nazi death camps
between 1941-44. Only about 2,500 survived. 

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