Leo Baeck and Contemporary History
Baeck was the most revered and dignified rabbi of the Jewish community of Berlin. He headed committees appointed in both 1933 and 1939 to negotiate with the Germans. Surprisingly, he recorded no notes at all regarding happenings to the German Jews even during the postwar years following his survival after Theresienstadt. Why such silence? All heads of Judenräte were under tremendous pressure and had to face daily confrontations including with their conscience. Baeck performed his tasks courageously, but at some stage, too, had to cooperate with the Nazis in the roundup of Jews for deportation to extermination camps. In addition to the resultant emotional disturbance, he may have wished to avoid criticism on the matter of his deceased peers had he written his memoirs.