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Imperfect Justice: Looted Assets, Slave Labor, and the Unfinished Business of World War II

Eizenstat, Stuart E.

ISBN 10: 158648110X / ISBN 13: 9781586481100
Published by PublicAffairs, 2003
Used Condition: Fine Hardcover
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158648110X Dj blurbs by Presidents Carter & Clinton, Kissinger, Albright, Herman Wouk, etc. Bookseller Inventory # 008269

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Imperfect Justice: Looted Assets, Slave ...

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

The U. S. official who spearheaded the fight to reclaim the stolen and confiscated assets of Holocaust survivors and other victims of World War II tells the inside story of that fight and how it was won. . In the second half of the 1990s, Stuart Eizenstat was perhaps the most controversial U. S. foreign policy official in Europe. His mission had nothing to do with Russia, the Middle East, Yugoslavia, or any of the other hotspots of the day. Rather, Eizenstat's mission was to provide justice-albeit belated and imperfect justice-for the victims of World War II. Imperfect Justice is Eizenstat's account of how the Holocaust became a political and diplomatic battleground fifty years after the war's end, as the issues of dormant bank accounts, slave labor, confiscated property, looted art, and unpaid insurance policies convulsed Europe and America. He recounts the often heated negotiations with the Swiss, the Germans, the French, the Austrians, and various Jewish organizations, showing how these moral issues, shunted aside for so long, exposed wounds that had never healed and conflicts that had never been properly resolved. Though we will all continue to reckon with the crimes of World War II for a long time to come, Eizenstat's account shows that it is still possible to take positive steps in the service of justice.

From the Inside Flap:

In the second half of the 1990s, Stuart Eizenstat had perhaps the most controversial assignment of any U.S. foreign policy official in Europe. His mission had nothing to do with Russia, the Middle East, Yugoslavia, or any of the other hotspots of the day. Rather, Eizenstat's mission was to provide justice-albeit belated and imperfect justice-for the victims of World War II, while maintaining positive diplomatic relations with the nations being asked to pay.

Imperfect Justice is Stuart Eizenstat's personal account of how the Holocaust became a political and diplomatic battleground fifty years after the war's end, as the issues of dormant bank accounts, slave labor, confiscated property, looted art, and unpaid insurance policies convulsed Europe and America. His story is not one of easy successes or an idyllic view of justice. Rather, it is a revealing chronicle of high-stakes negotiations involving heads of European governments, played out on an international stage in an emotionally charged atmosphere, with a subtext of crimes against humanity and billions of dollars on the table.

Eizenstat recounts the often heated negotiations with the Swiss, the Germans, the French, the Austrians, and various Jewish organizations, showing how moral and legal issues shunted aside for so long, exposed wounds that had never healed and conflicts that had never been properly resolved. Each country responded in its own way: Switzerland fought the disclosures about its past and deeply resented the outside pressure it faced; Germany accepted that it was once again called upon to account for its wartime sins, this time for those committed by private industry; Austria was torn, seeing itself as both victim and collaborator with Hitler; and France courageously accepted national responsibility for the Vichy regime. And on the other side of the table were a remarkable cast of characters: class-action lawyers, some of whom were altruistic while others were as interested in their own press clippings as in serving the needs of the survivors they represented; Jewish organizations that were at each other's throats over who best represented the victims in their quest for justice; politicians with their own agendas and ambitions, including New York's colorful senator Alfonse D'Amato, who turned the issue into his own personal crusade; and the President of the United States, Bill Clinton.

After six years of effort, Eizenstat and his team secured settlements totaling $8 billion for the victims of the Nazis, Jews and non-Jews alike, from some of the most powerful firms in Europe; they returned assets to their rightful owners; and they helped the countries of Europe face their past. Eizenstat's work has also laid the groundwork for resolving future disputes arising from man's inhumanity to man, proving that it is possible to bring justice, even imperfect justice, to an unjust world.

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