Michael R. Marrus


The holocaust in history


"Michael Marrus of the University of Toronto sets forth a carefully argued account of those historic lawsuits in Some Measure of Justice. A distinguished scholar of the Holocaust, Marrus approaches the subject as a historian with a special interest in law."
National Post


Michael Marrus is a distinguished scholar of the Holocaust and former Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto. He is Governor of the University of Toronto. Dr. Marrus has lectured widely in North America, Europe, Israel, and South Africa.

His recent completion of a Master of Law degree at the University of Toronto and a seminar he organized on apologies for historic wrongs helped shape some ideas in this book. He’s the author of, among other books: Vichy France and the Jews (co-authored with Robert Paxton), The Unwanted: European Refugees in the Twentieth Century, The Holocaust in History, Mr. Sam: A Biography of Samuel Bronfman and The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, 1945-46: A Documentary History. His books have appeared in French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Hebrew, Polish, and Japanese editions.

Dr. Marrus is also a Member of the Order of Canada.



 University of Wisconsin Press 2009

Some Measure of Justice

The Holocaust-Era Restitution Campaign of the 1990s

Can there ever be justice for victims of the Holocaust? During the 1990s, triggered by lawsuits in the United States against Swiss banks, German corporations, insurance companies, and owners of valuable works of art, claimants and their lawyers sought to rectify terrible wrongs committed more than half a century ago.

 Some Measure of Justice examines one of the largest human rights campaigns to have entered the legal arena. It seeks to make sense of this most recent wave of justice-seeking for the Holocaust: what it has been, why it has emerged when it did, how it fits with earlier reparation to the Jewish people, its implications for the historical representation of the Holocaust, and finally how it can effect justice-seeking in our time.  

The search for redress through the civil courts to restore valuables of those shipped to death camps was a flawed effort.  At the same time, it remains a significant milestone in the continuing effort of societies everywhere to seek justice for historic wrongs.  

Up to this point, accounts of the trials have mainly come from participants, lawyers, and journalists, as well as philosophers and social scientists specializing in restitution.   Most of these writings appeared when the campaign was under way, or near the point of resolution.   Now that the dust has settled and some of the passions have cooled, it may be possible to reexamine this issue by asking new questions, including how the law shapes the memory of the Jewish catastrophe.

In his foreword to the volume the distinguished international jurist William Schabas notes: "My reading of this book by Michael Marrus leaves me much enlightened, and his stimulating questions generate more doubts than simple answers, which is as it should be." The book has received high praise from several outstanding authorities in the field, among them Anthony Sebok of the Cardozo School of Law, and Michael Bazyler, author of Holocaust Justice.

Michael Marrus takes up the issue as a historian first and foremost, but as a historian preoccupied with claims of historical justice that set this campaign in motion, and with the larger questions of what happens to historical understanding and historical interpretation when they enter the legal arena. 

In 2004-05, with the support of the Ford Foundation, he organized a lecture series at the University of Toronto on the subject of apologies for historic wrongs -- a subject on which he is an authority and which prompted his 2006 publication, Official Apologies and the Quest for Historical Justicehttp://tinyurl.com/yafqmdw

Robert Fulford writes about Some Measure of Justice by in the National Post: