Hermann Maas

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Hermann Maas (5 August 1877, Gengenbach, Baden – 27 September 1970) was a Protestant minister, a doctor of theology and named one of the Righteous Among the Nations,[1] a title given by the Israeli organization for study and remembrance of the Holocaust - Yad Vashem, for people who helped save the lives of Jews during the Holocaust without seeking to gain thereby.

Life[edit]

Maas was born in Gengenbach/Schwarzwald, Germany.

In 1903, he started working as a Protestant minister. At the same time he began to make the acquaintance of Zionist Jews, and formed friendly relations with many of them, having attended the Sixth Zionist Congress in Basel that year. Since 1918, he was an active member of the pro-democratic left liberal DDP. Maas, who had decidedly liberal and pacifist views, caused a scandal in 1925 by attending the funeral of social democratic Reichspräsident Friedrich Ebert. Conservative German pastors considered this to be an affront to the church because Ebert had been an outspoken atheist. In 1932, Maas joined an association for protection against antisemitism. In 1933, when the Nazi regime introduced the economic boycott of the Jews of Germany, Maas first went to Palestine to meet with some of the Zionist activists, impressing them by speaking fluent Hebrew. Upon his return to Heidelberg he faced harsh criticism as a "Jew-lover". After Hitler's Machtergreifung, he joined the Pfarrernotbund and the Confessing Church along with other notable Protestant theologians such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Niemöller and Hans Ehrenberg. In the early 1940s, Maas helped many Jews flee from Germany by using his connections to obtain exit visas. In mid 1943, he was forced out of office for his activism by the Nazi regime. In 1944, he was sent to a forced-labor camp in France, from which he was later released by the US forces.

In 1950, Maas was the first non-Jewish German to be officially invited to the newly formed state of Israel. On July 28, 1964, Yad Vashem decided to recognize Reverend Hermann Maas as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.

He died on 27 September 1970 in Heidelberg.

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