The Beneficiaries of “Aryanization”: Hamburg as a Case Study
The article addresses a seemingly simple, yet fundamental question that has not been examined thoroughly in the research to date: who profited from the “Aryanization” of Jewish property in Germany during the Nazi period? This case study of Hamburg shows that participation in the pillage was widespread and deliberate. The profiteers included regional and local government and party officials, businessmen and entrepreneurs, and many ordinary citizens. Commercially, Aryanization of Jewish property became a lucrative business, unscrupulously exploiting the Jews’ parlous predicament. From February 1941 until the end of the war, property and belongings of Jews from Hamburg and elsewhere were auctioned off on a nearly daily basis. The motives of the participants can be traced both to ideology and to a desire for personal gain.