"From three millennia"
by Leo Baeck
Leo Baeck: Aus drei Jahrtausenden. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen und Abhandlungen zur Geschichte des jüdischen Glaubens (From three millennia. Scientific research and essays on the history of the Jewish faith)
© Jewish Museum Berlin, gift of Wolfgang Hamburger, photo: Jens Ziehe
When the Berlin publishing firm "Schocken" published Leo Baeck’s compilation of essays from three millennia ("Aus drei Jahrtausenden"), it was with the approval of the Gestapo. The Gestapo revoked the approval, however, straight after the book was released so that virtually the whole edition was reduced to pulp. Just a few copies made it abroad before the ban was imposed. These precious collectors’ pieces outlasted the Third Reich in libraries of the USA, Jerusalem, and Copenhagen. Leo Baeck himself did not possess a copy of his important work when he emigrated to London following his liberation from Theresienstadt in 1945.
The essays are concerned with Baeck’s interpretations of the Jewish faith. Published in the year 1938, they can be construed as challenging the Nazi ideology. A second edition of the volume, published in 1959, compiled 22 of the originally 24 diverse essays that Baeck had written over four decades.
This rare copy of the first edition, from the collection of the Jewish Museum Berlin, was given to the Museum by Wolfgang Hamburger in 2004. Born in Szczecin, the rabbi began studying at Berlin’s Academy of Jewish Research in fall 1939. Hamburger was condemned to forced labor from 1941. He was one of the first students to take up studies again in Berlin after 1945. He emigrated to the USA in 1947, where he still lives today.
The handwritten note "Wolfgang Hamburger, 12. März 1942" in the front of the book is commemorative of the book’s first owner.
Aus drei Jahrtausenden. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen und Abhandlungen zur Geschichte des jüdischen Glaubens
(From three millennia. Scientific research and essays on the history of the Jewish faith)
Berlin : Schocken, 1938
Inscription: Wolfgang Hamburger / 12. März 1942
Measurements: 22,5 x 16 x 6 cm