Utrecht Forum for Memory Studies


22 - 23 March 2022
09:30 - 18:00
Het Trippenhuis (KNAW), Kloveniersburgwal 29, 1011 JV Amsterdam

Interdisciplinary and international conference: Wassenaar, 1952: Re-Inventing Reparations

In the uncharted territory after the Second World War and the Holocaust, a novel and controversial approach to reparations for addressing gross human rights violations and serious international crimes emerged. On 22-23 March 2022, Lorena De Vita (Assistant Professor of History of International Relations) organises a conference that re-examines the 1952 Wassenaar negotiations, blending perspectives from history, law, and international relations.

Wassenaar 1952 has often been studied, rightly, as a key turning point in the history of German-Jewish-Israeli relations and as an important milestone in the development of compensation legislation and practice in the early 1950s. But those difficult negotiations also took place in a fraught political context – one that was characterised, at local, transnational and international level by serious tensions and conflicting interpretations about how to deal with the recent past. By studying Wassenaar 1952 as a platform for the creation of a new international practice to address serious harm, the conference participants will work to historicise the notion of reparations and reflect on the legacy of those talks, exactly seventy years on.

Lorena De Vita, convenor of the conference, has received a KNAW Early Career Partnership in 2021 to build an interdisciplinary and international conversation among scholars to re-assess the 1952 talks and their legacy. In 2020 she has published the book Israelpolitik (2020) about the German-Israeli perspectives on the 1952 negotiations. This research led her to ask bigger questions, which also inform the present conference: Can reparations restore political dialogue and societal connections in the aftermath of widespread atrocities?


  • Prof. Constantin Goschler (Ruhr University, Bochum): From Genocide to Politics. The Wassenaar Negotiations and the Measurement of the Unmeasurable
  • Prof. Susan Slymovics (UCLA): Three Generations, One Wiedergutmachung

Download the full conference programme (pdf) 

Please register by sending an email to wassenaar1952@uu.nl. This is a hybrid event, with a limited number of places available. Please specify in your email if you would like to attend in person or remotely.

For further information and questions email: wassenaar1952@uu.nl or l.devita@uu.nl.