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Disintegrating Property: Reflections on Preservation, Memory, and Legal Morality

by Bella Ryb, 2022 Law Fellow

During spring of 2022, I encountered the same problem— the disintegration of property—twice. The first time was in a Property Law course, in which one of our first readings was Thomas Grey’s famed article by that title. Grey introduces the idea that property is no longer a discrete idea of thing-ownership by a person, but actually “a more shadowy ‘bundle of rights.’”1 Contrary to the popular definition of property as domain over an item or idea, Grey queries the ways in which we sub-divide ownership to the point that the whole notion is called into question. At the time, the piece struck me as conclusory, but it wasn’t until later that I realized why. Grey is right that the legal category “property” is slippery, but this difficulty is not, as he suggests, the result of estrangement between property and the individuals who own it. Rather, as this paper will explore, the concept remains so elusive because of how the legal idea of property is inextricable from its owner’s personal experiences with it.

Ten weeks later and over 6,000 miles from the classroom where I first encountered Grey, I crossed through the gates of Auschwitz. In my mind as I entered were the millions of people, all individuals with their own complex lives and interiorities, who suffered horrifically and then perished there. Nearly a century later, things—personal property—are all that remain of them on those profane grounds: “110,000 shoes; 3,800 suitcases; 470 prostheses and orthopedic braces; more than 88 pounds of eyeglasses…; hundreds of hairbrushes and toothbrushes; 379 striped uniforms; 246 prayer shawls; [and] more than 12,000 pots and pans,” to be exact.2 Though worn, the items were all recognizable, even familiar, rendering them all the more viscerally striking. The tallitot brought tears to my eyes, the baby clothes bile to my throat, perhaps because they looked hardly worse for the wear than the ones I regularly see on those I love. Almost a century later, time seemed to stand still at Auschwitz.

This meticulous preservation is no coincidence. At the camp, ‘disintegration of property’ is not an intellectual gesture; it is a perpetual concern to which great resources are devoted.3 For the curators and historians who work at the memorial site, the phrase is literal: these experts are tasked with preventing the decay of irreplaceable personal artifacts recovered from the death camp. The Museum’s website boasts of its extensive preservation department: 141 specialists tasked with “protecting everything that remains at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp site,” including the collection of “moveable objects”—the personal relics of the murdered.4 Their ultimate goal is “to preserve authenticity… to keep the place intact, exactly as it was when the Nazis retreated…”5

Even with this formidable team, preventing the disintegration of property presents “a challenge like no other.”6 A problem of “sheer numbers,” even the most experienced and committed preservation specialists struggle to devote adequate care to each item when the inventory of shoes is measured in increments of ten thousand.7 As Witold Smrek, the Museum’s chief conservator, explains, “[e]verything needs constant maintenance and restoration … We are trying to preserve everything we can, but we can do only so much. The problem is that nothing lasts forever.”8 And Nel Jastrzebiowska, a conservator at Auschwitz, summarizes: “[w]e can’t stop time … But we can slow it down.”9 Even so, the Museum’s efforts persist, with “the burden of remembrance inform[ing] every aspect of … restoration efforts.”10

Various stakeholders accept and even demand this rigor from Auschwitz’s preservation campaign.11 Though the enterprise is not without critics,12 the educational impact of Auschwitz—enabled in many ways by this superb preservation—is often celebrated.13 Occasionally, however, Auschwitz’s fight against disintegration conflicts with the wishes of those most intimately connected to the property.

Take, for instance, the story of Michel Lévi-Leleu, a French Jew whose father Pierre Lévi was murdered in the Holocaust. In 1940, when Lévi-Leleu was only a year old, Nazi occupation of France triggered the persecution of Jews.14 Fearing for his family’s safety, Pierre Lévi sought to protect his wife and two sons from imminent arrest and deportation by hiding them in the mountains of Haute-Savoie.15 Mr. Lévi gave to his wife and sons a new surname: Leleu, designed to conceal their Jewish heritage, while the former diamond trader disguised himself as a farmhand near Avignon.16 Lévi successfully reached his family for a visit once, in the fall of 1942.17 In April 1943, Mr. Lévi arrived at the Avignon train station, en route to see his family after months of separation.18 Instead of boarding the train to Haute-Savoie, he was arrested by the SS on the platform, passing through the Orgeval and Drancy transit camps in France before reaching Auschwitz on July 31, 1943.19 There is no record of Mr. Lévi following his arrival at Auschwitz; it remains unknown when or how he died.20

In February 2005, fifty years after the liberation of Auschwitz, Lévi-Leleu—then a sixty-six-year-old retired engineer—attended an exhibition entitled “The Fate of Jews From France During World War II,” sponsored by the Foundation for the Remembrance of the Shoah in Paris.21 Such an activity was not unusual for Lévi-Leleu, who had recently started reinvestigating his family’s ties to the Holocaust. Lévi-Leleu read survivor accounts, watched Holocaust documentaries, and even began efforts to officially change his name from “Leleu” to his family’s original “Lévi.”22 Lévi-Leleu attended the exhibit with his daughter, one step in a larger family enterprise of Holocaust education and remembrance.23

At the exhibition, Lévi-Leleu encountered the unthinkable. Behind a glass case was a suitcase inscribed with his father’s name, the address of the family’s last home in Paris, and Mr. Lévi’s prisoner number.24 While the suitcase was damaged, Lévi-Leleu could still recognize it; he recalled his father carrying it on his final visit to Haute-Savoie.25 He even noticed his mother’s handwriting on the label.26 Seeing the suitcase brought back a flood of memories of Lévi-Leleu’s early childhood in hiding. He told Le Monde, “I remember my father telling me that if they asked me my name, I had to say Leleu. He made me understand that it was a matter of life and death not to say who I was.”27 Since the suitcase appeared in the midst of Lévi-Leleu’s process of reclaiming his pre-Holocaust Jewish identity, he “saw in the suitcase something like a sign.”28

Lévi’s suitcase was not permanent property of the Parisian foundation but rather belonged to Auschwitz. It was slated to return to the extermination camp by June 30, 2005.29 Upon learning that his father carried the suitcase on his journey to the camp, Lévi-Leleu immediately realized that he “wanted it to stay here, not to put it in a cupboard at home, out of everyone’s sight, but so it could be shown to everyone in Paris…[he] didn’t want it to repeat the journey that it had already made to Auschwitz.”30

Lévi-Leleu immediately made his wishes known to the French foundation, which attempted to negotiate with Auschwitz for the suitcase to remain in Paris.31 Auschwitz was unpersuaded, demanding the return of the suitcase on the grounds that the artifact was crucial to preserving “the history and proof of existence of the Auschwitz camp.”32 Piotr Cywinski, director of the Auschwitz Museum, cited a “‘risk of precedent’—that the return of the suitcase might generate many other restitution claims.”33 Lévi-Leleu rejected such allegations, unequivocally declaring “I am not trying to empty the Auschwitz museum.”34 But Lévi-Leleu’s pleas were to no avail. The International Auschwitz Council only extended the loan of the suitcase until January 2006.35

Lévi-Leleu filed suit against the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum before the Tribunal de grande instance in Paris in December 2005, a few weeks before the suitcase was due to return.36 In the suit, Lévi-Leleu claimed legal ownership of the suitcase.37 The Court “ordered for the immediate confiscation and sequestration of the suitcase by the Parisian authorities pending a final court decision on the matter,” leaving the item on display in Paris for the duration of proceedings.38 On June 4, 2009—after trial had finished but before a ruling—Lévi-Leleu and the Auschwitz Museum reached a settlement.39 Auschwitz agreed to loan the suitcase to the Shoah Museum in Paris where Lévi-Leleu discovered it “on a long-term basis.”40 In exchange, Lévi-Leleu agreed to drop all claims of ownership, allowing his father’s suitcase to remain the property of Auschwitz.41

While Lévi-Leleu ultimately prevailed in his fight to keep the suitcase in Paris, the Museum’s reaction to his claim to ownership reveals the limits of the legal concept, “the disintegration of property.” To this day, “the Museum denies that [the suitcase] ever belonged to Pierre Lévi despite all its identifying markings,” ignoring Lévi’s prisoner number and address on the suitcase.42 Critics have attacked Auschwitz for its unyielding claim to ownership, calling it a “relatively weak ethical and legal claim”43 and alleging that Auschwitz contends that “their rights to the stolen property of a murdered man are greater than those of his son.”44 Jacques Freidj, director of the Memorial in Paris, lamented the outcome: “[t]his is really a special case … If it had been treated with more sensitivity, it would have been a non-event. It's really a shame.”45

Disregarding such criticisms, Auschwitz reaffirmed their unwillingness to return persona items to survivors and their families, this time with the European Union’s support. In 2009, an EU summit convened to resolve the issue of “property plundered during the Holocaust and World War II.”46 According to a press release issued by the Museum, “[t]he final declaration acknowledges the need to regulate the ownership of property that was nationalized or formally confiscated by the Third Reich or postwar administrative decisions, as well as during the common plundering that accompanied military action, by restitution or compensation.”47 But despite this professed commitment to restitution, the delegation concluded that, “[i]n the case of Holocaust victims …, the principle of restitution could … threaten the integrity of Memorials founded on the ruins of the camps.”48 Thus, the EU exempted Holocaust survivors and their families from a broader policy of restitution. The European Union declaration’s justification for such a policy is as follows:

As the era is approaching when eye witnesses of the Holocaust (Shoah) will no longer be with us and when the sites of former Nazi concentration and extermination camps will be the most important and undeniable evidence of the tragedy of the Holocaust (Shoah), the significance and integrity of these sites including all their movable and immovable remnants, will constitute a fundamental value regarding all the actions concerning these sites, and will become especially important for our civilization including, in particular, the education of future generations. We, therefore, appeal for broad support of all conservation efforts in order to save those remnants as the testimony of the crimes committed there to the memory and warning for the generations to come …49

Yet again, refusing restitution finds justification in the need to preserve property to testify to the reality of the Holocaust once all survivors are deceased. Holocaust remembrance, in other words, requires the property of the dead to stand in for victims and survivors themselves.

As a result, these defenses often personify property. For example, Anna Lopuska—an Auschwitz employee—advocates preservation because “[w]ithin 20 years, there will be only these objects speaking for this place.”50 Through this anthropomorphism, preserved objects are figured as capable of offering testimony of their own, comparable to the speech of the deceased they come to symbolize. Likewise, the Auschwitz Museum contends that possessions of the murdered are “objects of a special nature, special meaning, and special symbolism” capable of “bear[ing] witness not only to the scale of the plunder carried out by German Nazis, but also to the suffering and death of their owners…”51 Commenting on the decision not to return Lévi’s suitcase, Piotr Cywinski, secretary of the International Auschwitz Council, equates preserving and displaying personal relics at Auschwitz to “preserv[ing] the memory of the disappeared.”52 When personal property is understood as a collection of ersatz victims, it is no wonder that preservation takes precedence over all else: it literally becomes life-saving work.

Perhaps this rhetoric is compelling because it reflects a long tradition of property’s intimate relationship with personhood. After all, when seeking to define inalienable human rights, Locke wrote of life, liberty, and property.53 Likewise, as Grey notes in his article, “Kant began his discussion of law in the Metaphysics of Morals with an analysis and justification of property rights.”54 The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union declares that “[e]veryone has the right to own, use, dispose of and bequeath his or her lawfully acquired possessions.”55 Our willingness to accept the personal property of the deceased as sacred—as symbolic of the person—is partly because this longstanding notion suffuses the political and moral culture of the liberal West.

Regardless of its origin, the way Auschwitz justifies its rightful ownership of the suitcase reveals that much more is at stake in the property dispute than merely the correct legal allocation of a commodity. This controversy has little to do with the various lawsuits seeking restitution for Nazi-looted art. In those situations, enormous economic value—as much as $135 million for a single painting—is at stake.56 Pragmatically speaking, the Lévi suitcase is just a suitcase—an old, broken, unusable piece of luggage; its monetary value is negligible, certainly not worth a protracted legal dispute. And yet, it took nearly four years, immense legal expense, and a protracted trial for a retired engineer and a world-class museum to reach a compromise over to whom the suitcase belonged. The court is insufficient when faced with such a deeply human, yet wholly nebulous, conception of property; the suitcase contains meanings which the legal infrastructure for adjudicating property disputes is not skilled at valuating and which raise a host of complex moral queries.

This fissure—the inability to adjudicate the problem of individual and interpersonal value—calls into question the ways in which law can be relevant to property and what it means to those closest to it. It is unknowable how the Court would have resolved Lévi-Leleu’s claim of ownership, as the parties settled before any verdict was reached.57 An analysis of French property law might weigh in favor of one party or the other. But perhaps the so-called “legal reality” of the situation is irrelevant. Perhaps Lévi-Leleu sought from the Court not a legal conclusion, but a moral judgment, an edict expressing and recognizing what Lévi-Leleu experienced and its value to his family.
With this in mind, I would suggest that Lévi-Leleu’s desire for property rights reflects his experience of the property’s underlying connection with dehumanization, memory, and agency—all issues raised by his father’s murder at Auschwitz. Auschwitz’s demand of formal property rights, meanwhile, follows from the Museum’s steadfast belief that their control over property is the only way to ensure its careful preservation, which in turn honors Holocaust victims and ensures that future generations encounter the Holocaust’s horrors. The Museum must own the item to ensure it can do what it, in their eyes, must.

The dispute also reflects a struggle over the significance of Pierre Lévi’s life. Lévi-Leleu feels entitled to the suitcase because it was his father’s; to him, the property is a proxy for the man, who ought to be remembered as a multifaceted, complex, and beloved individual. In contrast, Auschwitz assesses the suitcase and therefore Lévi’s significance not on the basis of his personal identity, but on his status as a victim of the Holocaust. By reducing Lévi to merely an object of tragedy rather than an individual, Auschwitz introduces a third level of symbolism: the suitcase as a stand-in for Lévi, who is in turn a stand-in for a universal Holocaust victim. At Auschwitz, Lévi’s suitcase would not be displayed individually with his name attached—a commemoration of the death of a distinct individual—as his son hoped it would be in Paris. The Museum would simply add it to a mountain of suitcases—each indistinguishable from the next—designed, through sheer magnitude, to make a point about the scale of the Holocaust. The half-legible text on the worn leather would be an etching echoing the past, not a man’s identifying mark. In Auschwitz’s matrix, then, Pierre Lévi the person should not be remembered at all—only his contribution to the camp’s staggering death toll is worth noting, a way to communicate the sheer horrors of mass death and genocide. Control over the suitcase, then, becomes more than a question of property; it becomes a way of determining how to commemorate someone’s life and the meaning ascribed to that life in death.

When faced with such sensitive, even existential, questions, courts seem to provide easy answers. Those solutions might be legally defensible, but they are orthogonal to the underlying ethical questions regarding the memory and humanity of someone who was murdered at an extermination camp simply because he was a Jew. Many court cases involve ethical or personal disputes not easily resolved by legal fiat. A tenant seeks damage from a landlord with whom relations have long been strained, a man goes to small claims court over the accidental destruction of a cheap but beloved possession—these are more-or-less typical situations in our country where relationships and questions of the human spirit come up against, and are translated by, the law. The Lévi suitcase dispute, however, goes beyond what it typical; it exemplifies—in the baldest terms—how the legal system is often used to mediate controversies which are not really about the law, but about higher-order questions which the law’s rigid institutional strictures prevent it from meaningfully engaging.

If the law, then, offers incomplete (and at times hurtful) guidance, we must have some other criteria for resolving such a high-stakes property dispute. I propose that justly deciding the fate of the Lévi suitcase would have required clarity on what Holocaust remembrance means. Only when we clarify what that complex and meaningful mission demands will we be able to determine how the suitcase’s ownership can both honor Pierre Lévi and the memories of all others lost in the Shoah.

The Auschwitz Museum’s present approach to Holocaust remembrance prioritizes historical authenticity, presupposing that it most effectively memorializes these atrocities.58 Moreover, Auschwitz contends that “the authenticity of the Auschwitz-Birkenau site…further[s] a deeper understanding of the origins of intolerance, racism, and anti-Semitism.”59 By turning to authenticity here, then, the Museum argues that we can better prevent prejudice, bigotry, and worse.

Auschwitz’s commitment to preservation as a form of Holocaust remembrance is valuable, but, as shown above, incomplete. Perhaps a memorial site ought not just consider the end of accurate preservation, but the means which permit that preservation. As James Forsyth summarizes, “[d]ocumentary evidence at places like Auschwitz is important. But considering the evil history of the place, it is imperative that it is freely given, not expropriated.”60

Applying this insight to the Lévi suitcase dispute prompts consideration of whether refusing a survivor’s direct descendant ownership of property perpetuates the dehumanizing harm of Nazi seizure of property. As part of the regime of Aryanization begun by the Nuremberg Laws, in 1938 “[t]he government made it legal to confiscate Jewish property.”61 These changes were components of a broader legal scheme stripping Jews’ rights, including their citizenship, right to vote, right to marry gentiles, right to participate fully in the economy, and right to emigrate.62 Loss of property protections under the Nazi regime was thus a part of systematic dehumanization that ultimately paved the way to extermination camps like Auschwitz-Birkenau.

I do not mean to suggest that Auschwitz intends to perpetrate dehumanization, nor that Lévi-Leleu’s property rights over the suitcase are equivalent to the property rights Jews lost under the Third Reich. But Lévi-Leleu himself understands Auschwitz’s unwillingness to surrender the suitcase as related to the dehumanizing violence committed against his father, lamenting that “[i]t's sad, after what the father went through, that the son has to fight for the suitcase to remain in France.”63 As one study of Holocaust property restitution explains, “when the law…denies relief to Holocaust survivors or their heirs seeking to reclaim property being displayed by museums…[, t]he law reinforces the victimization and thefts suffered at the hands of the Nazis. When demands for return of the objects are denied, new emotional wounds are inflicted.”64 If Lévi-Leleu experienced loss of property as an echo of Nazi violence, might this be enough to suggest that Auschwitz is perpetuating a version of the harm it claims to stand against? Immaculate preservation is one way to honor the memory of those lost. But might returning the suitcase to the family from whom the Third Reich stole it constitute remembrance through resistance?

These sorts of questions are essential, even as they stand outside the purview of the legal system. They are, in their way, prior to it, forming the backdrop against which law is made. The legal system, in other words, is empowered to allocate disputed property. It cannot, however, truly impart justice in situations in which such conflicts are not about economic value, but instead are expressions of higher-order moral concerns.65

After confronting the dehumanization faced by his father under the Nazi regime, Michel Lévi-Leleu turned to the law to offer a just resolution as to the proper owner of his father’s suitcase. Regardless of how the courts would have resolved this dispute, the answer would have been immaterial because it would have answered an entirely different question. Courts purport to be institutions of justice, but they are only able to offer solutions prescribed by the rigid strictures of the law—a system which holds enormous and diverse symbolic values for individuals, but which is not built to decide disputes which in fact arise from subjective experiences behind and beyond legal ideas. Ethical legal practice, then, demands recognition of the inherent limitations of legal institutions and the resolve to reach beyond their bounds for conflict-resolution venues better able to grapple with the complexities of moral decision-making.

Bella Ryb was a 2022 FASPE Law Fellow. She is a J.D. candidate at Stanford Law School.


  1. Thomas C. Grey, The Disintegration of Property 22 Nomos 69, 69-70 (1980).
  2. Rachel Donadio, Preserving the Ghastly Inventory of Auschwitz, N.Y. Times (Apr. 15, 2015), https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/16/arts/international/at-auschwitz-birkenau-preserving-a-site-and-a-ghastly-inventory.html.
  3. See Andrew Curry, Can Auschwitz Be Saved?, Smithsonian Mag. (Feb. 2010), https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/can-auschwitz-be-saved-4650863/. (“The Polish government in 2009 asked European nations, the United States and Israel to contribute to a fund from which the Auschwitz museum could draw $6 million to $7 million a year for restoration projects, on top of its more than $10 million annual operating budget. Last December, the German government pledged $87 million—about half of the $170 million target endowment.”)
  4. Preservation, Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum (last visited Aug. 11, 2022), https://www.auschwitz.org/en/museum/preservation/.
  5. Donadio, supra note 2.
  6. Curry, supra note 3.
  7. Id.
  8. Timothy W. Ryback, Evidence of Evil, New Yorker (Nov. 7, 1993), https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1993/11/15/evidence-of-evil#:~:text=Since.
  9. Donadio, supra note 2.
  10. Curry, supra note 3.
  11. See, e.g., Chris Johnson, Fight Against Time to Preserve Auschwitz, Reuters (Jan. 30, 2007), https://www.reuters.com/article/us-auschwitz/fight-against-time-to-preserve-auschwitz-idUSL2791329420070131 (“Israel Gutman, a former Auschwitz prisoner and adviser to the Yad Vashem holocaust institute in Israel, is determined the camp will be conserved as long as possible, whatever the cost.”); Curry, supra note 3 (“There is no more forceful advocate for the preservation of Auschwitz than [survivor] Wladyslaw Bartoszewski”).
  12. See, e.g., Curry, supra note 4 (“Robert Jan van Pelt, a cultural historian in the school of architecture at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and the leading expert on the construction of Auschwitz…supports the preservation of the Auschwitz main camp, although he acknowledges it is a “kind of theme park, cleaned up for tourists.” Van Pelt also suggests that “letting Birkenau disintegrate completely would be a more fitting memorial than constantly repairing the scant remains.”).
  13. See, e.g., Anna Bussu, Peter Leadbetter, & Michael Richards, The Perception of Visiting Holocaust Sites on Undergraduate Students Learning Processing, Innovative Higher Education (2022), https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10755-022-09606-9 (finding that visiting Auschwitz “improved student perceptions of their learning experience and understanding of the Holocaust”); Sarah Cassidy, Auschwitz: School Trips Are Helping Children Fight Discrimination at Home, Independent (Sept. 30, 2015), https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/auschwitz-school-trips-are-helping-children-fight-discrimination-at-home-a6674351.html (discussing how students feel visiting Auschwitz “had not only helped them understand the history of the Holocaust but also had important wider lessons.”).
  14. Alan Riding, The Fight Over a Suitcase and the Memories It Carries, N.Y. Times (Sept. 16, 2006), https://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/16/arts/design/16ridi.html.
  15. Id.
  16. Id.
  17. Id.
  18. Id.
  19. Id.
  20. Id.
  21. Id.
  22. Pascal Ceaux, Sixty Years of Pain in a Suitcase, Le Monde (Sept. 2, 2006).
  23. Anne Laure Bandle, Raphael Contel, & Marc-André Renold, Auschwitz Suitcase: Pierre Lévi Heirs and Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Oswiecim and Shoah Memorial Museum Paris, ArThemis Art-Law Centre, University of Geneva (last visited Aug. 11, 2022), https://plone.unige.ch/art-adr/cases-affaires/auschwitz-suitcase-2013-pierre-levi-heirs-and-auschwitz-birkenau-state-museum-oswiecim-and-shoah-memorial-museum-paris.
  24. Riding, supra note 14.
  25. Id.
  26. Ceaux, supra note 22.
  27. Id.
  28. Id.
  29. Riding, supra note 14.
  30. Id.
  31. Id.
  32. Bandle et. al., supra note 23.
  33. Id.
  34. Riding, supra note 14.
  35. Id.
  36. Bandle et. al., supra note 23.
  37. Id.
  38. Id.
  39. Id.
  40. Id.
  41. Id.
  42. Jennifer Anglim Kreder, The Holocaust, Museum Ethics, and Legalism, 18 Rev. of L. & Soc. Just. 1, 26 (2008).
  43. Bandle et. al., supra note 23.
  44. James Forsyth, Historical Baggage, Foreign Pol’y (Aug, 18, 2006, 7:57 PM),
  45. Riding, supra note 14.
  46. EU Summit: Better Protection for Memorials, Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum (June 30, 2009), https://www.auschwitz.org/en/museum/news/eu-summit-better-protection-for-memorials,587.html.
  47. Id.
  48. Id.
  49. Id.
  50. Donadio, supra note 2 (emphasis added).
  51. Historical Collection, Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum,
    https://www.auschwitz.org/en/museum/historical-collection/ (last visited Aug. 11, 2022).
  52. Legal Action Over Holocaust Personal Belonging, Ynet News (Aug, 10, 2006, 14:01),
  53. John Locke, Two Treatises of Government 269 (Thomas Hollis ed. 1764).
  54. Grey, supra note 1, at 73.
  55. 2007 O.J. (C 303) 17.
  56. Kreder, supra note 42, at 3 (“The value of the art comes to mind for many. One Klimt painting restituted in 2006 was worth $135 million—close to the highest value ever paid for any work of art. One expert estimated that $700 million of art was restituted between 2001–2006.”).
  57. Bandle et. al., supra note 23.
  58. See History, Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum (last visited Aug. 11, 2022),
    https://www.auschwitz.org/en/history/ (“Memory is not something that is acquired once and stays on forever. The moment that the last eyewitnesses and survivors pass away, we have to work together to build on that which remains: the testimonies of those former prisoners and the authentic artifacts connected with Auschwitz. Each item can have its own enormous meaning and should find its place in the collection of the Auschwitz Memorial. Here, it will be preserved, studied, and displayed. Its place is here.”)
  59. Mission Statement Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum (last visited Aug. 11, 2022),
  60. Forsyth, supra note 44.
  61. Shoah Resource Center, Anti-Jewish Legislation, Yad Vashem (last visited Aug. 11, 2022),
  62. Id.
  63. Ceaux, supra note 22.
  64. Kreder, supra note 42, at 7-8.
  65. See Kreder, supra note 42, at 6 (“property law…cannot provide an adequate framework for analyzing a claim to a low-cost object lost during the Holocaust…”).