Research and Teaching

»Aryanisation« in Frankfurt am Main. A history of robbery and restitution

Researcher: Mirjam Schnorr M.A.

Funding: City of Frankfurt am Main

In the course of the so called »Aryanisation«, Nazi Germany’s Jewish population was systematically robbed of their property. Numerous actors and profiteers were involved in this large-scale transfer of Jewish-owned property to non-Jews, including owners and purchasers, state and party institutions, Reich and municipal authorities, and private individuals. This research project examines the history of »Aryanisation« in Frankfurt am Main, particularly with regard to the expropriation of Jewish land and real estate owners.

The study therefore addresses the following questions: How did the organised plundering of Frankfurt’s Jews proceeded? Which phases, responsibilities and participations can be described? And were there possibly any local peculiarities? In particular, the role of the magistrate and its representatives in the forced sale and confiscation of Jewish properties will be critically examined. A central source for this is the list »House and Land Acquisition of the Municipality of Frankfurt am Main from Jews since January 30, 1933«, which was prepared by the city councillor Adolf Miersch in July 1945. The »Miersch List« is crucial for investigating another key aspect of this research project: the restitution of seized property after the end of the war. What happened to the looted property after 1945 and how did the efforts for restitution proceed – given the former owners or their heirs were able to claim restitution at all? Moreover, what continuities can be traced within the city’s building policy and with regard to the personnel in the municipal administration? Using the example of »Aryanization« in the city of Frankfurt, the project aims to contribute to the research of the Holocaust’s material aspects, which are often still relevant today.