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Robbing the Jews reveals the mechanisms by which the Nazis and their allies confiscated Jewish property; the book demonstrates the close relationship between robbery and the Holocaust. The spoliation evolved in intensifying steps. The Anschluss and Kristallnacht in 1938 reveal a dynamic tension between pressure from below and state-directed measures. In Western Europe, the economic persecution of the Jews took the form of legal decrees and administrative measures. In Eastern Europe, authoritarian governments adopted the Nazi program that excluded Jews from the economy and seized their property, based on indigenous antisemitism and plans for ethnically homogenous nation-states. In the occupied East, property was collected at the killing sites - the most valuable objects were sent to Berlin, whereas items of lesser value supported the local administration and rewarded collaborators. At several key junctures, robbery acted as a catalyst for genocide, accelerating the progression from pogrom to mass murder.
Martin Dean is an Applied Research Scholar at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies in Washington, DC. He received a scholarship in History from Queens' College, Cambridge, in 1980 and was awarded his PhD also at Queens' in 1989. His publications include Collaboration in the Holocaust: Crimes of the Local Police in Belorussia and Ukraine, 1941-44 (2000); Austrian Policy during the French Revolutionary Wars, 1796-99 (1993); and numerous articles. He has also worked as a Staff Historian for the Australian Special Investigations Unit and as the Senior Historian for the Metropolitan Police War Crimes Unit in London (1992-7). He has held a DAAD grant and was awarded the Pearl Resnick Post-Doctoral Fellowship by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1997. He has acted as an expert witness in Nazi war crimes cases in Australia and Germany.