Unfinished Business: Why the Legacy of the Holocaust in France is still important
During the German occupation of France in World War II, almost 75000 Jews were deported from France to their deaths. There was significant collaboration by the French government and French companies in the looting of property from Jews. That looting was widespread and comprehensive, and included apartments, bank accounts, precious art and family heirlooms, businesses and even everyday items. Since 1945, although some steps toward restitution were made, progress has been difficult, has faced much resistance, and a great deal of Holocaust related property and information remains in the shadows. Given France's role in many areas of the world where genocide and mass atrocities are an immediate issue, the legacy of the Holocaust in France, and whether and how it continues to be remembered and confronted will have important implications for France and Europe.
Owen Pell's areas of practice include complex commercial and securities cases, cases involving issues of public international law. Mr.Pell also has extensive experience representing financial institutions and companies in connection with government investigations and litigation that may arise from those investigations.
Mr Pell has handled important cases in the area of corporate social responsibility, including with respect to cases relating to a bank's activities in South Africa during the former Apartheid regime, and another bank's alleged connections to African slavery in the United States. Mr Pell also represented Credit Commercial de France and the Chase Manhattan Bank in cases arising from the banks in France during WW II, and participated in the successful negotiations between the United States and France to resolve those cases.
Mr Pell formulated a proposal for creating a title clearing and dispute resolution entity in Europe to address claims relating to works of art looted from individuals during the Holocaust. Hearings were held in the European Parliament, which in 2003 adopted a resolution supporting further study of that proposal by a vote of 487-10. Mr Pell continues to advise governments on Holocaust-looted art issues, and recently acted as counsel to the U.S. delegation at the June 2009 Prague conference on Holocaust Era Assets.
Owen Pell is a lawyer at White & Case International Law Firm in New-York City. He has an extensive experience in cases involving issues of public international law. Mr Pell formulated a proposal for creating a title-clearing and dispute resolution entity in Europe to address claims relating to works of art looted from individuals during the Holocaust.
A Champage reception will follow the lecture.