Greenstein Presents on West Germany’s Reparations

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On October 14, Claire Greenstein, a postdoctoral fellow in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs’ Center for European and Transatlantic Studies, gave a talk on “Political Cover or Moral Imperative: Reparations in West Germany” at the North Carolina German Studies Seminar & Workshop Series.

After World War II, the West German federal government set an international and historical precedent by paying reparations to its own citizens for abuses committed by the former German regime. In her talks, Dr. Greenstein examined what motivated the West German government to promise and pay reparations to Jewish Germans after the war. 

She argues that Jewish Germans were able to obtain reparations because organized Jewish victims’ groups placed a high level of pro-reparations pressure on the West German government, found sympathetic political allies within the upper echelons of West German government, and sustained that pro-reparations pressure over time.

On October 30, Claire Greenstein presented her paper “Pressures and Payments: Explaining West Germany’s Domestic Holocaust Reparations Program” at Georgia State based on the research noted above. 

Claire Greenstein joined the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs after completing her PhD in Political Science at the University of North Carolina in July 2018. Her dissertation focused on what motivates governments to pay reparations to their own citizens in the wake of widespread, state-sanctioned human rights abuses. Her research interests include reparations, transitional justice more broadly, social movements, and European Politics. 


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