Read Days of Sorrow and Pain: Leo Baeck and the Berlin Jews by Leonard Baker Free Online
Book Title: Days of Sorrow and Pain: Leo Baeck and the Berlin Jews|
The author of the book: Leonard Baker
Edition: Oxford University Press, USA
Date of issue: August 28th 1980
ISBN 13: 9780195028003
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 555 KB
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Reader ratings: 5.4
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UPDATE April 2018 ...
Rabbi Baeck was an inspirational figure in his time and, IMO, to this day. He was not naive and knew what was coming, but he would not leave. He helped others to leave and did his best to make sure they did not feel guilty by doing so. But for him, the opportunity which had come to him was to stay, and it would be a denial of his soul to do otherwise.
I hope to introduce Rabbi Baeck into my novel (the sequel to A FLOOD OF EVIL) and make him as inspirational to my fictional character Berthold Becker as he now is to me.
Rabbi Leo Baeck was perhaps the most important leader of the Jews of Germany during the Hitler years. A scholar and spiritual leader before Hitler's rise, Baeck turned down offers to leave Germany and took on the difficult and ultimately frustrating role of coordinating Jewish response to the closing Nazi net. Arrested several times, he survived Theresienstadt and lived his final years in England. Baker has written a marvelous account of Baeck's long and remarkable life.
Baeck recognized that the scattered organizational structure of German Jewry was not adequate to stand against Nazi antisemitism. He helped create and was the chief spokesman for the Reichsverretung, an organization which supervised welfare problems of German Jews … education … emigration … raised funds … and sought help of Jews abroad. He was a major factor in the escape of many German Jews during the late 1930s when escape was still possible.
In 1935, on Yom Kippur shortly after the passage of the infamous Nuremberg Racial Laws, Baeck wrote a stirring sermon to be read in all synagogues in Germany. In this sermon, Baeck stated ... that there was a moment of decision for each individual, the point beyond which he will not bend, the pressure to which he will not succumb, the sacrifice he will not make ... that Judaism was the history of the grandeur of the human soul and the dignity of human life ... that no matter how weak we are, how oppressed we might be, how abruptly our former friends turn away from us, we cannot be defeated.
Baeck was arrested by the Gestapo, but soon released after pressure from an article in the London Times and protest from a group of Christian ministers in the US. Baker points out that "no German Christian leaders protested the Baeck's arrest."
This event, and others in Baeck's life, will likely play a role in Book Two of my novel A FLOOD OF EVIL.
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