How Baddiel changed his mind about restitution
WRITER AND broadcaster David Baddiel has turned from being sceptical about Holocaust restitution to being a supporter after making a TV documentary due to air next week.
Baddiel and the Missing Nazi Billions, scheduled for BBC1 at 10.40pm next Wednesday, explores the history of payments to survivors and their heirs across Europe.
“It is a sort of journey about my own attitude to Holocaust restitution,” he told the JC this week. “I had a strong resistance to the whole idea because… I feared that antisemites can make capital out of a project of Jews wanting to have their money returned to them.” But as a result of his travels and interviews for the programme, “I changed my views about that”.
The programme attempts to “give an idea of the complexity” of the subject, he explained, and “of just how much was unpaid”.
Estimates of the amount resulting from unpaid insurance policies, dormant bank accounts and unrestituted looted art and property run to $150 billion.
He can also call on family experience, since his grandfather, Ernst, sought restitution for the brickworks he was forced to sell before fleeing Nazi Germany.
The idea for the documentary was apparently first suggested b y t h e p l a y wr i g h t Stephen Poliakoff to the then controller of BBC1.
Mr Poliakoff’s drama, Joe’s Palace, which was broadcast on Sunday night, features a scene about looted Jewish art.
David Baddiel in Berlin