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German History in Documents and Images
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Leo Baeck with his Wife Natalie on Vacation in the Ore Mountains [Erzgebirge] (1930)
Leo Baeck (1873-1956) was a prominent scholar and rabbi who served congregations in Oppeln, Düsseldorf, and Berlin, where he also taught at the Higher Institute for Jewish Studies [Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums]. His book The Essence of Judaism was written in response to Adolph von Harnack’s The Essence of Christianity and describes Judiasm in neo-Kantian terms as a religion of moral affirmation. Because he remained in Germany after the Nazi takeover, working to defend the Jewish community until his deportation to Theresienstadt in 1943, he is often called the last leader of the Jewish community in Germany.