The Portrait of Esther The Black Notebook

The appropriation of Jewish property and assets by the Germans

Episode V - page 68

Léa explains to Iris that Galande stole the family’s property and assets. But how did Galande have the authority to sell the Blum family’s apartment, their art collection and other possessions?

Under the Occupation, the Jews were stripped of their possessions (houses, artworks, businesses, etc.). All of these possessions were then handed over to a German sympathizer, i.e. a French person who collaborated with the Nazi Party. This person was then in charge of formally dispossessing the Jewish family of their property and goods by selling them off. This action was made legal in a law passed in 1942. Therefore, under French authority, André Galande was named provisional administrator of the Blum family’s property and assets.

After the war, approximately 25% of such properties and assets were returned to their rightful owners. Fifty years later, France put in place a procedure to compensate victims. In 1997, the Mattéoli Commission was created to investigate the confiscation of Jewish possessions between 1940 and 1944.