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Project “The post-Holocaust Development of Legal Remedies as a Learning Process (Post-Holocaust Remedies)”

For the first time, a research project at the Faculty of Law of Justus Liebig University (JLU) Giessen is conducting research with international cooperation partners on the development and effects of compensation law related to the Holocaust and is organizing an international summer school starting in August 2023, with the aim of setting up an academic curriculum, along with other activities.

The project "The post-Holocaust Development of Legal Remedies as a Learning Process (Post-Holocaust Remedies)”, conducted by the Chair of Public Law and International Law at Justus Liebig University (JLU) Giessen, began its work under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Thilo Marauhn in September 2022, the 70th anniversary year of the Luxembourg Agreement. The project is being funded by the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (EVZ) and the German Federal Ministry of Finance, as part of the Education Agenda NS-Injustice It examines within an 18-month term the legal framework that emerged after 1945 for the compensation-oriented treatment of the consequences of Nazi crimes.

On the one hand, this project makes a decisive contribution to the critical examination of the process of developing political and various legal instruments for dealing with the consequences of the NS regime of injustice by sharpening the academic debate on the subject.

On the other hand, the academic insights gained from this project are intended to make a long-term, practically usable contribution to politics and society by enabling them to generate possible options for future practices of dealing with the past from the project results. Last but not least, one of the core elements of the project is the implementation of a Summer School in the summer of 2023, in which 25 Israeli, Colombian, and German students equipped with full scholarships will participate. In this context, the students will spend two weeks each at Reichmann University in Herzliya, Israel, and at JLU Giessen from August 27 to September 23 studying the legal treatment of Nazi crimes from the perspective of academic teaching, thus becoming an essential component of the project work.

The lectures are accompanied by excursions to facilities relevant to the topic. In this way, the project integrates the raised questions directly into an academic curriculum. In addition to disseminating knowledge about the manifold compensation mechanisms, the Summer School thus also pursues the overarching goal of making the initial project results usable for an academic curriculum. The curricula designed by the project team will be made available to educational institutions, especially universities. The project thus enjoys pilot character.

The Post-Holocaust Remedies Project focuses on core issues of German and international law and critically examines legal concepts and premises. In this context, it is important to systematically compare and comprehensively present all legal instruments that have had an effect on compensation law at the legal level, through bilateral or multilateral agreements, but also in the form of arrangements with individual actors, such as the Jewish Claims Conference. In addition, various related instruments of international law will be considered. Compensation-oriented and related legal instruments are thereby presented in an organized manner in the form of a publicly accessible database.

Drawing on the gathered and systematized data, the Summer School will set the stage for the practical phase of the project through an interactive exchange between students and academics from an interdisciplinary (i.e. a legal, comparative, historical, and transitional justice) perspective, which, in the spirit of a learning process, will now increasingly focus on proposals concerning possible optimizations to future legal instruments for dealing with the past. This broader perspective on the unique historical phenomenon of the Holocaust will also be ensured in particular by the involvement of Israeli, German and international institutions.

Following the Summer School, the findings will be presented for discussion to the third pillar of the Post-Holocaust-Remedies Project, namely an international closing conference. It will be composed of academics, key players in the field of practical implementation of compensation instruments, those affected, as well as interested sectors of society.

The project will always include the perspectives of those affected by compensation law measures and the victims of Nazi injustice at every stage of the project, especially in the critical debate - with a prominent position and elementary role.