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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

How to Recover Family Treasure The Nazis Plundered in the 1940s

00:00 40:19
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Today's guest recently went on a quest to reclaim his family’s property in Poland and found himself
entangled with Nazi treasure hunters. He is Menachem Kaiser, author of "Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure."

Kaiser’s story is set in motion when the author takes up his Holocaust-survivor grandfather’s former battle to reclaim the family’s apartment building in Sosnowiec, Poland. Soon, he is on a circuitous path to encounters with the long-time residents of the building, and with a Polish lawyer known as “The Killer.” A surprise discovery—that his grandfather’s cousin not only survived the war, but wrote a secret memoir while a slave laborer in a vast, secret Nazi tunnel complex—leads to Kaiser being adopted as a virtual celebrity by a band of Silesian treasure seekers who revere the memoir as the indispensable guidebook to Nazi plunder.

In our discussion, we get into questions that reach far beyond Kaiser's personal quest. What does it mean to seize your own legacy? Can reclaimed property repair rifts among the living?
March 02, 2021
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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