William Z. Slany, historian who exposed Nazi theft of Jewish property, dies at 84

Historians in the News
tags: obituaries, State Department, Washington Post, William Z. Slany, federal historians

William Z. Slany, a top State Department historian who helped oversee a study in the 1990s that exposed Nazi looting of Jewish property and that led to $8 billion in belated compensation for Holocaust victims and their families, died May 13 at his home in Reston. He was 84.

The cause was heart ailments, said his former wife, Beverly Zweiben.

Dr. Slany was the State Department’s chief historian from 1982 until his retirement in 2000. He drew the most attention for a massive, two-part study that burrowed into the history of Nazi Germany to expose the methodical theft of Jewish property.

The stolen assets encompassed jewelry and other valuables belonging to victims of the regime’s persecution. The looting was so extreme as to include gold teeth taken from concentration camp victims....

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