The Forgetfulness of Noblesse: A Critique of the German Foundation Law Compensating Slave and Forced Laborers of the Third Reich

33 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2012  

Libby Adler

Northeastern University - School of Law

Peer C. Zumbansen

King’s College London, Dickson Poon Transnational Law Institute

Date Written: 2002

Abstract

In August 2000, Germany’s twin houses of parliament enacted a law establishing a foundation to compensate survivors of the Nazi forced labor program. The Foundation Law was acclaimed as a victory for Holocaust survivors, despite that it sharply limits compensation amounts, denies recovery to some potential claimants, and purports to preclude further litigation of Holocaust-era claims. Proponents of the Foundation Law defended the choice to use legislation to resolve Holocaust-related claims initially brought in a judicial forum on the grounds that litigation is inherently ill-suited to that task, and justified the terms of the Law by reference to the claimants’ poor chances in the courtroom. In this article, the co-authors identify some troubling assumptions underlying these rationales and highlight the historical and political context in which they were offered.

Suggested Citation

Adler, Libby and Zumbansen, Peer C., The Forgetfulness of Noblesse: A Critique of the German Foundation Law Compensating Slave and Forced Laborers of the Third Reich (2002). Harvard Journal on Legislation, Vol. 39, No. 1, pp. 1-61, Winter 2002; Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2007249

Libby Adler (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )

400 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Peer C. Zumbansen

King’s College London, Dickson Poon Transnational Law Institute ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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