A recent study by a team led by Michael Bazyler, Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law Professor of Law and 1939 Society Law Scholar in Holocaust and Human Rights Studies, has revealed that a significant proportion of property stolen during the Holocaust has yet to be returned to its rightful owners. The study, titled the Holocaust (Shoah) Immovable Property Restitution Study, is one of the most comprehensive of its kind examining legislation passed by the 47 endorsing states of the 2009 Terezin Declaration on Holocaust Era Assets and Related Issues. It was commissioned by the European Shoah Legacy Institute and reveals unresolved issues around private and communal property illegitimately seized from Holocaust victims. It is estimated that almost one half of the 500,000 Holocaust survivors alive today live in poverty.
The study highlights how each country has responded to its commitment to return or provide compensation for land and businesses confiscated from Jewish communities and other persecuted groups during the Holocaust. The study was presented in April at “Unfinished Justice: Restitution and Remembrance,” an international conference held at the European Parliament in Brussels.
Professor Bazyler is a leading authority on the use of American and European courts to redress genocide and other historical wrongs. He is the author of Holocaust, Genocide, and the Law (Oxford University Press 2016), winner of the 2016 National Jewish Book Award, and co-author of Forgotten Trials of the Holocaust (New York University Press 2014) with Frank M. Tuerkheimer, reviewed in the New York Review of Books. His book, Holocaust Justice: The Battle for Restitution in America’s Courts (New York University Press 2003), was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and reviewed in the Harvard Law Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times (London), and The Economist. He is a contributor of chapters to various books on genocide and the law, and co-editor/author with Roger Alford of Holocaust Restitution: Perspectives on the Litigation and Its Legacy (New York University Press 2006).
Professor Bazyler has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Reform Committee on the subject of Holocaust restitution. He has also been interviewed by CNN, 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning, Dateline NBC, ABC News, Voice of America, the Australian Broadcasting Company, National Public Radio and the BBC. Professor Bazyler has also delivered the Austin Owen Lecture at the University of Richmond and the Feibel Family Lecture at Ohio State University.