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Nehemiah Robinson reports on indemnification and reparations


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Archives at the Library of the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies [Contact Us]420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106-3703

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Dr. Nehemiah Robison, the son of Dawid Chemiowicz (1861-1935) and Bluma Semionowa London (1865-1941) Rabinsohn, was born in Vištys, Lithuania in 1898. He was one of seven brothers. He studied law and political science at the University of Jena in Germany and practiced law with his brother, Jacob Robinson in Kovno, Lithuania. The two appear to have immigrated to New York in December [1940], and probably practiced law together in the United States. It is unclear if any of his other brothers immigrated at the same time.

From 1947 until his death in 1964, he served as the director of the Institute of Jewish Affairs of the World Jewish Congress. The World Jewish Congress, an international organization, was founded in 1936 to address the anti-Semitism that was growing across Europe, and especially in Nazi Germany. In February 1941, the Institute of Jewish Affairs was founded by Jacob Robinson and others under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Congress in order to "analyze the political, legal and economic aspects of Jewish life since World War I and subsequently to secure Jewish rights and freedom internationally." (Institute for Jewish Affairs collection (I-371), Center for Jewish History: In his role with the Institute of Jewish Affairs, Robinson was the head of all research for the Congress and much of his work focused on indemnification and reparations to Holocaust survivors and war crimes, topics on which he was considered an authority.

Over the course of his career, Robinson served as international law advisor to the World Jewish Congress; as chief adviser in formulating the agreement on indemnification at the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany at the Hague; and as a representative to Jewish bodies in negotiating agreements on indemnification with Austrian authorities. He published on contemporary Jewish issues, indemnification of the victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution, prosecution of war criminals, and the United Nations.

This collection consists of two volumes which contain eight reports written by Dr. Nehemiah Robinson and published by the Institute of Jewish Affairs of the World Jewish Congress from 1945 to 1950. The publications deal with indemnification and reparations, as well as restitution of Jewish property following World War II. Specific indemnification and reparations legislation, court practice and "factual situation" are mentioned in the reports for Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States Zone of Germany, and Yugoslavia.

Official and unofficial actions and views on reparations are reported from the International Federation of Trade Unions, the Kilgore Subcommittee, the World Trade Union Conference, and the Yalta Conference, as well as from France, Norway, and the United States War and State Departments.

Entire reports focus on Germany and Austria: on the working and the results of the German Reparation Program, on restitution legislation in Germany, on compensation legislation in Germany, and on restitution and compensation legislation in Austria.

Several of the reports contain introductions written by Robinson providing context and clarifications about the reports. Of interest is Robinson's intention to make the reports "accessible to others than only in the field." (volume 2, page 2)

These volumes were formerly held by the libraries of Miśrad ha-ḥuts and Givʻat Ḥavivah in Israel.

Sold at auction at Kedem Auction House (Jerusalem), 29 June 2021, lot 205.

University of Pennsylvania: Archives at the Library of the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies
Finding Aid Author
Holly Mengel
Finding Aid Date
2022 September 14
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"First Supplement to Indemnification and Reparations: Recent Events (This report covers the period up to end of February, 1945)", 1945.
Volume 1 Pages 1-70
"Indemnification and Reparations: Second Supplement", undated.
Volume 1 Pages 71-268
"Indemnification and Reparations: Third (Special) Supplement (United States Zone of Germany)", undated.
Volume 1 Pages 269-318
"Indemnification and Reparations: Fourth Supplement (The Working and the Results of the German Reparation Program)", 1949.
Volume 1 Pages 319-407
"Restitution Legislation in Germany (A survey of enactments)", 1949.
Volume 2 Pages 1-61
"Compensation Legislation in Germany (A survey of enactments)", 1950.
Volume 2 Pages 63-109
"Compensation Legislation in Austria (A survey of enactments)", 1949.
Volume 2 Pages 111-134
"Information on Restitution and Related Subjects, No. 1", 1950.
Volume 2 Pages 136-168

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