Research Group

The Luxembourg Agreement and Its Impacts: New Research, New Insights

Group Description

On September 20, 1952, the Federal Republic of Germany, the State of Israel, and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) signed a far-reaching reparations agreement in Luxemburg. Pursuant to what came to be known as the Luxemburg Agreement and its two protocols, West Germany paid for the integration of half a million Holocaust survivors in Israel, as well as individual reparations to Nazi victims. The agreement represented a historical breakthrough. Indeed, since 1952, and even more so after the end of the Cold War, the negotiations preceding it, the agreement itself, and just as important, the German-Jewish-Israeli relations that grew out of it have all served as a model for addressing past injustices in other cases occurring after the Holocaust.

Marking the 70th anniversary of the Luxemburg Agreement, the research group’s objective is to study, discuss and reflect together about the agreement, and try to understand its impact on other cases of historical wrongs. From an interdisciplinary perspective, we focus on the agreement and its various historical, diplomatic, socioeconomic, legal, moral and linguistic aspects, while analyzing additional cases inspired and informed by the agreement, which shed new light on its interpretation.

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Head of the Research Group
Iris Nachum

Dr. Iris Nachum is an Assistant Professor of Modern Central European History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she also serves as Deputy Director of the Jacob Robinson Institute for the History of Individual and Collective Rights.

Most of her research and publications explore the complex interactions between demands, practices, and discourses of compensation (Wiedergutmachung) in the intra-German, German-Israeli, and German-Jewish contexts.

Her recent book is titled Nationalbesitzstand und “Wiedergutmachung”. Zur historischen Semantik sudetendeutscher Kampfbegriffe. The book shows that the Sudeten German compensation claims against the Czech Republic after 1989 were not a new invention. Rather, Germans in Czechoslovakia had already demanded compensation (Wiedergutmachung) from Prague for damages to their national assets at the end of World War I and throughout the interwar period.

The topic of her current research project is the West German Equalization of Burdens Law (Lastenausgleichsgesetz). For information on this research, please visit

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Regula Ludi

Regula Ludi, Professor of Modern History, University of Zurich, and researcher at the Interdisciplinary Institute for Ethics and Human Rights, University of Fribourg, currently the director of a Swiss National Science Foundation research project on the history of voluntarism and gender relations since the 1970s.

Previous research focused on postwar reparations for Nazi victims, refugees and asylum policy of the 1930s and 1940s and early debates on international human rights. My main publications on the subject of reparations are Reparations for Nazi Victims in Postwar Europe, Cambridge: CUP 2012; “Second Wave Holocaust Restitution, Post-Communist Privatization and the Global Triumph of Neoliberalism in the 1990s,”Yod 21 (2018); “The Vectors of Postwar Victim Reparations: Relief, Redress and Memory Politics,” Journal of Contemporary History 41/3 (2006).

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Group Participants
Rachel 1
Rachel Blumenthal

Rachel Blumenthal is a fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Jewry in the Hebrew University. She researches the postwar era and the cataclysmic consequences of the Second World War. She was awarded a Ph.D. degree by the Hebrew University for her thesis on "The Claims Conference, the State of Israel and the Diaspora: 1951-1964." In August 2021, Lexington Books published her book, Right to Reparations: The Claims Conference and Holocaust Survivors, 1951-1964. Rachel also holds an Ll.M from Tel Aviv University and is the recipient of the 2021 Vienna University Salo and Jeanette Baron Junior Scholar award. She is now researching confrontations between refugees and locals in Upper Austria and Salzburg after the war and the Austrian model of restorative justice.

Irit Chen
Irit Chen

Irit Chen is a PhD student in the Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem under the supervision of Prof. Yfaat Weiss and Dr. Sharon Livne. She is Head of the Archive for the German-speaking Jewry in Israel (AGSJI) in the DAAD Center for German and European Studies at the University of Haifa, and a research fellow at the Koebner Center for German History at Hebrew University. Her dissertation focuses on the Purchasing Mission to Cologne, the official and exclusive commercial representative of the Government of Israel in the Federal Republic of Germany – West Germany, for implementing the Reparations Agreement. It began operating in Germany in May 1953, several months after the ratification of the Agreement, and shut its doors in August 1965 with the establishment of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel, before the termination of the official date of the Reparations Agreement. Throughout the 12 years of the Mission’s service in Germany, the members comprised Israeli emissaries of German-Jewish origin. The research examines the role and contribution of the delegation’s members, who had returned to their birthplace as representatives of the State of Israel, in shaping the early connections between the two countries around the Reparations Agreement, eventually leading to the establishment of official diplomatic ties.

Lorena De Vita

Dr. Lorena De Vita is Assistant Professor of History of International Relations at Utrecht University, where is currently leading the project: Holocaust Remembrance and International Diplomacy: The Global Politics of Memory and Forgetting (Alfred Landecker Lecturer Programme). In March 2022, she ideated and hosted: “Wassenaar 1952: Reinventing Reparations”, an international multidisciplinary workshop which took place at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) to mark the seventieth anniversary of the beginning of the negotiations that led to the signing of the Luxembourg Agreement. Dr. De Vita is the author of Israelpolitik: German-Israeli Relations 1949-1969 (Manchester University Press, 2020; paperback edition: 2022), and she recently published ‘Dutch Hospitality: The 1952 German-Jewish-Israeli Negotiations amid Post-Holocaust and Post-Imperial Tensions’ in the Low Countries Historical Review. Together with Constantin Goschler (Ruhr University Bochum), she is co-editing a volume on the legacy of the 1952 negotiations forthcoming with Routledge.

Sheer Ganor
Sheer Ganor

Sheer Ganor is a historian of German-speaking Jewry and modern Germany. Her work focuses on the nexus of forced migration, memory and cultural identities. She is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where she teaches on topics such as the history of genocide, displacement and human rights. She is currently working on a book manuscript titled In Scattered Formation: Displacement, Alignment and the German-Jewish Diaspora. This study traces the emergence of a transnational diasporic network of Jewish refugees who escaped Nazi Germany and its annexed territories.

G. Guzman's Picture
Gustavo Guzmán

Gustavo Guzmán is postdoctoral fellow at the University of Potsdam’s Institute for Jewish Studies. His current project is about postwar German-Jewish migration to Chile, Peru, and Bolivia—three countries located in the Andean area of South America—and the impact of German reparations on the Jews of those countries. Dr. Guzmán holds a Ph.D. in History from Tel Aviv University. His dissertation, supervised by Prof. Raanan Rein, analyzes the attitudes of the Chilean Right toward Jews from the 1930s to the 1970s, exposing changes and continuities over time.

Arndt Engelhardt
Arndt Engelhardt

Arndt Engelhardt has been working as cultural historian at the Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture – Simon Dubnow since 2006. He earned his doctorate at the University of Leipzig on modern Jewish encyclopedias (“Arsenale jüdischen Wissens. Zur Entstehungsgeschichte der ‘Encyclopaedia Judaica’” Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, 2014). At present he is an affiliated researcher at the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His current book project “Public Emancipation and Literary Belonging: On the Materiality of German-Language Jewish Publishing Cultures in the Nineteenth Century” reconstructs the material and cultural dimensions of the German-language Jewish book trade and reading cultures in the age of emancipation in the context of broader trends in European intellectual history.

Yael Mishly
Yael Mishly

Yael Mishly is a PhD student in the Department of Environmental Economics and Management, Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Through her MA dissertation, she examined intergenerational mobility differences between Holocaust survivors and pre-war immigrants' descendants, showing that the children of survivors had a greater degree of mobility. Her study suggested that reparation may have helped increase mobility between generations. By comparing groups of Holocaust survivors who differed in their generosity of reparation, Yael examined this question as part of her PhD research.

Ana Ćirić Pavlović

Ana Ćirić Pavlović is a PhD Candidate in Atelier Department for Interdisciplinary History at ELTE University (Hungary). She holds MA degrees in Jewish History from Central European University (Hungary) and in International Law and Human Rights from European Institute (Spain). Previously she completed BA studies in International Relations at Faculty of Political Science (Serbia). Ana explores Sephardi revival in Bosnia as well as the intertwinement of some crucial socio-political phenomena such as civil society, popular culture, nationalism and WWII memory in the Balkans. She was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow for researching antisemitism in East-Central Europe. Ana is currently engaged in developing an online repository dedicated to digital preservation and revitalization of Jewish heritage in South-East Europe.

Gideon Reuveni

Gideon Reuveni is Director of the Weidenfeld Institute of Jewish Studies. He has published widely on diverse topics such as historiography, sports, reading culture, and Jewish economic history. His most recent book: Consumer Culture and the Making of Modern Jewish Identity (published by Cambridge University Press) won the 2018 National Jewish Book Award. More recently he co-edited the volume The Future of the German-Jewish Past (Purdue University Press, 2021). Currently he is working on a book dealing with the history of the 1952 German-Jewish reparations agreement.

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