Rabbi Frank Dabba Smith* Introduction For ten years, I have researched the little-known history of altruism at the world famous camera manufacturer âErnst Leitz of Wetzlarâ during the Nazi nightmare of 1933 to 1945. In previous publications, I have examined the motivations and actions of Ernst Leitz II and his daughter Elsie KÃ¼hn-Leitz as well as detailing examples of individuals and families who were helped.1 As more archival material is discovered and more descendents are interviewed, a fuller picture of these remarkable rescue activities may be revealed. This article is a work in progress. These altruistic actions were guided in spirit and in deed by Dr Ernst Leitz II. As a committed democrat who had been active in local politics, he was deeply opposed to the inhumane values and behaviours of the Nazi regime. The saving of persecuted individuals reï¬ected his ï¬rm sense of humanitarianism and compassion as well as a company tradition of behaving ethically and protectively towards a highly valued workforce. Through the examples detailed below, an image emerges of a range of actions of which some posed signiï¬cant risks to the welfare of Dr Leitz. The support given to persecuted individuals represented appropriate ways of
European Judaism – Berghahn Books
Published: Mar 1, 2007
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