Author Dina Gold grew up hearing her grandmother’s tales of the glamorous life in Berlin she once led before the Nazis came to power and her dreams of recovering a huge building she claimed belonged to the family - though she had no papers to prove ownership. When the Wall fell in 1989, Dina decided to battle for restitution.
Built by Dina’s great grandfather in 1910, the property was the business headquarters of the H. Wolff fur company, one of the largest and most successful in Germany during the early part of the last century. In 1937, the Victoria Insurance Company foreclosed on the mortgage and transferred ownership of Krausenstrasse 17/18 to the Reichsbahn, Hitler’s railways, that later transported millions of Jews across Europe to the death camps.
The Victoria, headed then by a German businessman and lawyer with connections to the very top of the Nazi Party, is still today one of Germany’s leading insurance companies. But during the war it was part of a consortium insuring workshops at Auschwitz.
When the Third Reich was defeated in 1945 the building lay in the Soviet sector – just past Checkpoint Charlie – and beyond legal reach.
Stolen Legacy is the story of how the Nazis deprived a once prominent Berlin Jewish family of their landmark building – and the fight to reclaim it.
This updated edition includes new evidence from archives in the US, Germany and Britain about the Victoria’s wartime chairman who, post-war, received national and academic honors.
Author Dina Gold was born and brought up in Britain. She is now an American citizen living in Washington, DC where she is on the board of the Jewish Community Center and co-chair of the Washington Jewish Film Festival. A senior editor at Moment magazine, she started her career in London as a financial journalist after postgraduate studies at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Later, at the BBC, she worked as an investigative reporter and television producer.
Praise for Stolen Legacy
“This is a meticulous and finely written account of Dina Gold’s struggle to seek belated justice for her mother, with all the twists and turns one would expect from a fictional detective story — but it is all true.”
--E. Randol Schoenberg, attorney (Woman in Gold)
“Alongside the The Woman in Gold now stands the building at Krausenstrasse 17/18 as a story of a legacy reclaimed by the tenacity of a woman determined to find justice for her relatives who suffered the horrors of the Holocaust.”
--J. Edward Wright, Professor of Judaic Studies, University of Arizona.
“Dina Gold has written a crisp, page-turning nonfiction whodunit, and proves herself to be an unyielding sleuth in the pursuit of justice for her family. At the same time, it is meticulously researched journalism that provides a fresh perspective on history.”
--Nadine Epstein, editor and publisher, Moment magazine
“Her property becomes in a way the reader's property and we follow with great interest and intensity her efforts to recover not only a material legacy but the entire history of her family.”
--Serge Klarsfeld, lawyer and Nazi hunter
“Dina Gold tells the fascinating story of the uphill attempts of one family - her own - to regain the property that had been stolen from them by the Nazis. It is an amazing story.”
--Walter Laqueur, historian, political commentator and author
"The Holocaust was an immense act of murder. But it was also an immense act of theft. The stolen property was seized and passed on, first by the Nazis and then by governments that followed. This is the story of a single such property." --Walter Reich, Yitzhak Rabin Chair, George Washington University, former Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
“… her narrative is a personal one, similar to the book The Lady in Gold and the well-received movie Woman in Gold…” -- The Federal Lawyer
“Gold’s measured, compassionate prose makes it clear that it’s not a tale of financial gain but one of justice and the survival of a persecuted people.” -- Kirkus
“Gold’s description of the veneer of legality that the Nazis used is important.” -- LA Review of Books
“A granddaughter's grit, her investigative journalist skills, serendipity, the German's propensity for keeping records all combine to make a true historic adventure.” -- JEWISH PRESS
“… riveting, humane and politically important.” -- Standpoint
“… the story behind Dina Gold's book has not ended.” -- Jewish Chronicle
“One is full of admiration for the author’s persistence and courage in pursuing this complex claim…” -- Association of Jewish Refugees