Dr. Elisabeth Gallas

Elisabeth Gallas
Project Coordinator: Cultural Property and Restitution Documentation after 1945


Elisabeth Gallas is a Research Associate at the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture in Leipzig since 2015, and a former Minerva Research Fellow at the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry and at the Franz Rosenzweig Center at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She coordinates the Center's project Cultural Property and Restitution Documentation after 1945. For the academic year 2012−2013 she was granted a research fellowship at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute of Holocaust-Studies. She received her ph.D. in Modern History at the Universität Leipzig in 2011 with a thesis on the history and impact of Jewish initiatives in restitution of looted cultural property in the aftermath of World War II. From 2006 through 2012 she worked as researcher at the Simon Dubnow Institute. She studied Cultural Studies and German Literature at the Universität Leipzig/Germany and Sociology at the University of Copenhagen/Denmark and gained her M.A in 2006.

Research Project

Elisabeth's research deals with political strategies and intellectual efforts undertaken by Jews in New York in the 1940s and 1950s in their attempts to come to terms with the Nazi genocide. This project seeks to not only to analyze the broad array of mostly forgotten American Jewish attempts to document the catastrophic reality in the press, reports, pamphlets, monographs and articles and to reformulate the political and juridical strategies in response to it. But it aims at contextualizing such efforts in relation to the Cold War’s increasing presence and the overwhelming political and ideological challenges that it posed. Through an analysis of the concepts and policies discussed and envisioned in the 1940s, and following their transformation in the course of the 1950s, the project will shed light on important elements of the emerging historical consciousness and political agency among Jews in America and their post-war visions of a new world order after the cataclysm.



- »Das Leichenhaus der Bücher«. Kulturrestitution und jüdisches Geschichtsdenken nach 1945, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2013.

Articles | Book Chapters

- “Theoriebildung und Abwehrkampf vor der Katastrophe – Essays on Antisemitism, New York 1942,” in Beschreibungsversuche der Judenfeindschaft. Zur Geschichte der Antisemitismusforschung vor 1944, ed. by Hans-Joachim Hahn and Ole Frahm, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2014, 403–425.

- „Facing a crisis unparalleled in history“ – Jüdische Reaktionen auf den Holocaust aus New York, 1940 bis 1945, in S:I.M.O.N (E-Journal of the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust-Studies), September 2014, <http://simon.vwi.ac.at/index.php/working-papers/13-elisabeth-gallas-faci....

- “Kulturelles Erbe und rechtliche Anerkennung: Die Jewish Cultural Reconstruction, Inc. nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg,” in Jahrbuch für Antisemitismusforschung 2013, 35−56.

- “Materialisiertes Gedächtnis − Zur Rettung und Verteilung geraubter jüdischer Bücher nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg,” in Jahrbuch für Exilforschung 2013, 215−227.

- “Hannah Arendt – Rückkehr im Schreiben,” in »Ich staune, dass Sie in dieser Luft atmen können«. Jüdische Intellektuelle in Deutschland nach 1945, ed. by Monika Boll and Raphael Gross, Frankfurt a. M.: S. Fischer Verlage, 2013, 233−263.

- Art. “Offenbach Archival Depot”, in Enzyklopädie jüdischer Geschichte und Kultur, Vol. 4, ed. by Dan Diner, Stuttgart: Metzler, 2013, 397−402 .

- “Restoring and Remembering East European Jewish Culture. Lucy Dawidowicz and the Salvage of Books and Archives after the Holocaust,” in Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook 11 (2012), 73−89.

- “In der Lücke der Zeit. Über Hannah Arendts »Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft«,” in Konstellationen. Über Geschichte, Erfahrung und Erkenntnis, ed. by Nicolas Berg/Omar Kamil et al, Göttingen/Oakville, Conn.: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011, 261–282.

- “Hannah Arendt und der Eichmann-Prozess. Eine doppelte Überschreibung,” in Zeitgeschichte-online, November 2011, <http://www.zeitgeschichte-online.de/md=Eichmann-Prozess>.

- “Bewahren und Erneuern – Zur Restitution jüdischer Kulturgüter nach 1945,” in Diktaturüberwindung in Europa. Neue nationale und transnationale Perspektiven, ed. by Regina Fritz/Birgit Hofmann et al, Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2010, 21–35.

- “Die Restitution jüdischer Kunst und Kulturgüter Europas zwischen 1945 und 1952,” in Raub und Restitution. Kulturgut aus jüdischem Besitz von 1933 bis heute, ed. by Inka Bertz and Michael Dorrmann, Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2008, 209–215.