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Jonathan George Petropoulos Edit Profile

History professor

Jonathan George Petropoulos, American history professor. Achievements include research in history of Nazi art looting and restitution. Fellow, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, 1993, Fulbright, 1999, German Academic Exchange Service, 2000.


Petropoulos, Jonathan George was born on January 10, 1961 in Los Angeles, California, United States. Son of George Jonathan and Maureen Laura Petropoulos.


Doctor of Philosophy, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1990.


He is John V. Croul Professor of European History at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California. Before his 1999 appointment to Claremont McKenna College, Petropoulos taught at Loyola College in Maryland. From 1998 to 2000, Petropoulos served as Research Director for the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets, chaired by Edgar Bronfman, Sr.

Since 2000, Petropoulos has served as an expert witness in several legal cases concerning Nazi-looted assets, including Altmann v. Austria (six paintings by Klimt, including Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I), Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (painting by Pissarro), Kann v.

Wildenstein (medieval manuscripts), and Rosner et al. v. U.S.A. (the Hungarian Gold Train case). Petropoulos was featured in The Rape of Europa, a 2006 documentary on Nazi art looting.

With John Roth, he is the co-editor of Gray Zones: Ambiguity and Compromise in the Holocaust and Aftermath (2005). In April 2008, Petropoulos resigned his position as director of Claremont McKenna College's Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights amidst controversy over the failed restitution of a Pissarro painting looted by the Nazis in 1938. The looted Pissarro, Le Quai Malaquais, Printemps, was discovered by Swiss investigators in May 2007 in a secret safe controlled by Lohse in Zurich, Switzerland.

After its seizure by Swiss authorities, the painting was independently restituted to an heir of Gottfried Bermann Fischer later in 2007 by a Liechtenstein court, and ultimately auctioned by Christie's in New York for $1,850,000 ($2,154,000 with premium) on November 3, 2009.


  • Achievements include research in history of Nazi art looting and restitution.



He is the author of three books: Art as Politics in the Third Reich (1996), The Faustian Bargain (2000), and Royals and the Reich (2006). Following an extensive review, a March 2008 Claremont McKenna College statement said the professor "adhered to applicable contractual and legal obligations" in attempting to arrange return of the painting.


Married Kimberly Ann Shiring, May 27, 1994. Children: Astrid Sophia, Isabel Stella.

George Jonathan

Maureen Laura Petropoulos

Kimberly Ann Shiring

Astrid Sophia Petropoulos

Isabel Stella Petropoulos