Document Type

Book Review

Journal Title

Unbound: An Annual Review of Legal History & Rare Books



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Leonard Orland is the Oliver Ellsworth Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut. He has written a fine, if a bit unwieldy, book that traces the sad history of money and other assets deposited in supposedly sacrosanct Swiss banks by European Jews during the Nazi era to its long overdue resolution by the American justice system. The book provides background and perspective on how and why the $12.1 billion in pre-war dollars (about $250 trillion today) of financial assets of Holocaust victims disappeared into thin air in the years following World War II. These assets were given over to the Swiss banks by Jews and other Holocaust victims seeking to protect their life savings, having been lured by Swiss promises of secrecy and protection; but their heirs were met with cold, calculating denial by those same banks when they attempted to regain their rightful inheritance after the war.


This review was previously published in the newsletter for the Legal History and Rare Books Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries. That version is also available in ScholarWorks at



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