Scholars from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum are in Sarasota Tuesday night to help connect victims and their families to the past.
About 80 percent of Jewish assets seized by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II have not been recovered. According to the Jewish Political Studies Review, “At least $115 billion to $175 billion remains unreturned despite numerous clear and explicit international agreements and country promises made during World War II and immediately thereafter.”
Diane Afoumado, Chief of Research and Reference at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., said two public databases can help people find the documents they need in order to seek legal restitution.
"It's almost like a puzzle for each individual. So you know, we have pieces from the late 1930s and some pieces from the postwar era and we try to put those pieces together and explain what those documents are to the families and the survivors.”
Afoumado said the Holocaust Survivors and Victims Database and the International Tracing Service archive contain millions of documents, some of which only became available to the public in 2007. They'll share those with tonight's audience.
Afoumado and her research team receive about 200 research requests per month. They come from all 50 states and 76 countries around the world.
Additional speakers at Tuesday's event include Dina Gold, author of Stolen Legacy: Nazi Theft and the Quest for Justice at Krausenstrasse 17/18, Berlin and Suzanne Brown-Fleming, author of Nazi Persecution and Postwar Repercussions.