How Bad­diel changed his mind about resti­tu­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY SI­MON ROCKER

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.

PHOTO: BBC PIC­TURES

David Bad­diel in Ber­lin

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