Project on Aryanization of Jewish property approved

2019-04-16

The Unwanted Citizens: The Holocaust and the Aryanization of Jewish Property in Romania and the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), 1940-1945

Project leader: Goran Miljan
Funding: Stiftelsen Marcus och Amalia Wallenbergs Minnesfond
Research focus: Holocaust Studies
Project start: July 1, 2019

The forced transfer of Jewish property into “Aryan” hands (Aryanization) represented one of the crucial aspects of the process of exclusion of Jews from European societies during the Holocaust. The same process took place in the Axis partner states, Romania and the Independent State of Croatia – NDH during WWII. As active participants in the Holocaust the two regimes engaged in the mass dispossession of Jewish wealth for the purpose of reshaping their societies and changing the perceived internal power structure through the distribution of jobs, businesses and real estate to the “dominant” ethnic community.

This project investigates the policies and practices of Aryanization conducted in Romania and the NDH during WWII. By focusing on antisemitism, legislation, bureaucracy, policy implementation, and gentile and Jewish responses, the project examines the ideological, political, and legal factors that shaped this Aryanization in three major urban areas that hosted the largest Jewish communities: Bucharest, Iaşi, and Czernowitz in Romania, and Zagreb, Osijek, and Varaždin in the NDH. In particular, by showing how the Aryanization of minority property was utilized for the purposes of nation and state building during WWII, the project will provide a comparative perspective on the role of Aryanization in the two above-mentioned Axis countries. This comparative perspective will advance the existing scholarship on the dynamics and mutual influences between fascism, Holocaust and nationalization policies in Central and South Eastern Europe. Drawing on new archival collections, a comparative methodology, and state of the art research on fascism and Aryanization, the project will address not only the strategies employed to seize Jewish property but also the responses of gentiles and Jewish citizens.