V. Methods of research
The questions posed to the Commission and the tasks which it has to fulfil are so numerous and at the same time complex, given the large number of fields to be dealt with and the numerous individual cases to be taken into consideration, that a wide variety of methods of historical as well as juridical research will have to be employed. Above all, the amount of data to be absorbed is huge and time presses, hence it will be necessary in some cases, simply to save time, to proceed on the basis of the criteria of statistical representativeness.
The methods to be applied will depend on the fields and on the aims of the researches as well as being predicated on the data available and the resources which the researchers have.
What the Commission has been asked to supply in the first place is a census and estimate of the property looted by the Nazi regime in qualitative and quantitative terms both in relation to the total assets of the deprived groups (total dispossession, considerable degree of dispossession or slight losses, including the question of compensation and indemnification granted, if any) and in relation to the overall growth of national product and national wealth during the period in question.
Ideally, this would have to be complemented by a similar estimate and census of all restitutions and compensations, again in relation to the total property of the groups affected and in relation to the national wealth and national product in 1945 and in the following postwar years.
The Commission's terms of reference secondly include an evaluation of the conduct of the authorities and of the specific situation of the victims, especially in those fields were deficiencies in restitution and compensation are to be found.
To what extent the Commission will be able to answer all these questions in their totality can only be seen when the researches are in a more advanced stage.