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Second-wave Holocaust restitution, post-communist privatization, and the global triumph of neoliberalism in the 1990s


Ludi, Regula (2018). Second-wave Holocaust restitution, post-communist privatization, and the global triumph of neoliberalism in the 1990s. Paris: Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales.

Abstract

This article argues show that the emergence in the 1990s of a second wave of Holocaust‑era restitution claims was not the result of a shift in mentalities leading to the sudden recognition of past wrongs or the surge of repressed memories but rather part of a larger process involving major transformations in global capitalism and property regimes. Restitution, fashioned as re‑privatization, surfaced in the early 1990s in connection with post‑Communist de‑collectivization and was included in neoliberal reform packages adopted by transitional societies in Central and Eastern Europe. By the end of that decade, restitution attained a much wider significance as a token of justice, memory, and identity. International scrutiny of restitution mechanisms implemented by post‑Communist states turned the restoration of property rights into an indicator of these societies’ commitment to human rights and their willingness to address the legacies of their totalitarian past. As a “travelling concept” linking private property with novel ideas of historical justice on its road from east to west and west to east, restitution gradually changed from a method of advancing privatization and creating new polities to a carrier of the memory of past wrongs. In this entirely new meaning, restitution became the heart of Holocaust survivors’ fin‑de‑siècle call for justice and recognition.

Abstract

This article argues show that the emergence in the 1990s of a second wave of Holocaust‑era restitution claims was not the result of a shift in mentalities leading to the sudden recognition of past wrongs or the surge of repressed memories but rather part of a larger process involving major transformations in global capitalism and property regimes. Restitution, fashioned as re‑privatization, surfaced in the early 1990s in connection with post‑Communist de‑collectivization and was included in neoliberal reform packages adopted by transitional societies in Central and Eastern Europe. By the end of that decade, restitution attained a much wider significance as a token of justice, memory, and identity. International scrutiny of restitution mechanisms implemented by post‑Communist states turned the restoration of property rights into an indicator of these societies’ commitment to human rights and their willingness to address the legacies of their totalitarian past. As a “travelling concept” linking private property with novel ideas of historical justice on its road from east to west and west to east, restitution gradually changed from a method of advancing privatization and creating new polities to a carrier of the memory of past wrongs. In this entirely new meaning, restitution became the heart of Holocaust survivors’ fin‑de‑siècle call for justice and recognition.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Scientific Publication in Electronic Form
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of History
Dewey Decimal Classification:900 History
Language:English
Date:29 March 2018
Deposited On:19 Nov 2018 10:56
Last Modified:07 Apr 2020 07:13
Publisher:Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales
Number of Pages:29
ISSN:0338-9316
Additional Information:ISSN électronique 2261-0200
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.4000/yod.2597
Official URL:http://journals.openedition.org/yod/2597

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