Max Naumann

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Max Naumann (12 January 1875 – May 1939) was the founder of Verband nationaldeutscher Juden (League of National German Jews), which called for the elimination of Jewish ethnic identity through Jewish assimilation. The league was outlawed by the Nazis on 18 November 1935.

Naumann was a Captain in the Bavarian Army during World War I[1] and a Berlin lawyer.

Early life[edit]

Naumann was born to an assimilated Eastern European family. He attended the Friedrichs-Werdersches Gymnasium in Berlin, and received a law degree from the University of Berlin. He served as an infantry commander during World War I and was awarded the Iron Cross (First and Second Class).[2]

Political action[edit]

Standing in opposition to Zionist groups and Jewish organizations such as the Centralverein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens, he advocated total assimilation as an answer to antisemitism. During the Weimar Republic Naumann was active with the German People's Party. He was quoted in Michael Brenner's book The Renaissance of Jewish Culture in Weimar Germany as saying "The election campaign must not be a struggle of religious conceptions, it must be a decisive struggle about our Germanness!"[3] in reference to the 1933 election that resulted in Hitler's rise to power.

Along with Julius Brodnitz, Heinrich Stahl, Kurt Blumenfeld and Martin Rosenblüth, Naumann was one of the Jewish activists who were summoned to a meeting with Hermann Göring on 25 March 1933. Göring tried to enlist their help in preventing a rally against Nazi antisemitism which was planned in New York City for 27 March (see Mass meetings of the Anti-Nazi boycott of 1933). Göring claimed that Jews in Germany were spreading lies about Jews being attacked by Nazi forces. Naumann responded to Göring by producing a list of abuses, even producing a newspaper clipping showing Nazis forcing Jews to scrub streets with brushes. Naumann was among the Jewish leaders who said there was nothing that they could do to stop the protest in foreign countries.[4]

Naumann's group was dissolved by the Gestapo in 1935. Naumann was incarcerated at Columbia Haus and released after a few weeks. He died of cancer in May 1939.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Verband nationaldeutscher Juden 1921–1933" by Carl J. Rheins in the Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook, Volume 25, Issue 1, p. 243-268.
  2. ^ a b Who's Who in Nazi Germany by Robert Solomon Wistrich (Psychology Press, 2002), p. 177
  3. ^ p. 51. Yale University Press, 2009; ISBN 0-300-07720-3
  4. ^ Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine (Dialog Press, 2009; ISBN 978-0-914153-13-9), pg. 31

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