Rabbi and philosopher Leo Trepp (1913- 2010) had all throughout his life taken a stand for a lively and open-minded Judaism. He saw his duty in bringing Judaism closer to humankind. His comprehensive work appealed that Judaism can only be made lively by the active engagement and constant devotion and renewal of its believers. Trepp was engaged in spreading knowledge about Judaism among Non-Jews in order to create the basis for dialogue between the religions. After the Shoa, where most of Trepp’s family was murdered by the Nazis, Trepp regularly came back to Germany, gave lectures and visited stations of his past. He had studied and worked in Germany before he had emigrated to the USA after the Pogrom Night in 1938. Trepp’s message corresponds with Jewish thinking: that the new generation bears no guilt for the crimes against humanity the Nazis had committed. This generation does however bear the responsibility to fight against anti-Semitism and racism in any shape or form. Trepp himself was engaged in this struggle until the very last. For Trepp, God, the People and Life stood at the centre of his thinking and functioning. Rules and unalterable principles for their own sake were not of concern for him. These views make his philosophy and work timeless.
On this website, Trepp’s encompassing work has been made accessible. All resources are available in German and English. You are invited to interactively gain an insight into the busy life of Leo Trepp. Furthermore, you can find an overview of events taking place in the honor of Leo Trepp. On occasion of his 100th birthday next year, many stations of his life, for example his native town Mainz and Oldenburg, where he worked as State rabbi (Landesrabbiner) at the beginning of the Nazi regime, are hosting lectures and readings to commemorate Trepp’s life and work.
Further information about Leo Trepp:
Celebrating the Seder Passover with Rabbi Leo Trepp (2010):
In this short clip, 97-year-old Leo Trepp talks about his memories as Rabbi in Germany in the 1930ies, later in the USA. After the Pogrom Night, Trepp was brought to the Concentration Camp Sachsenhausen. Shortly after, he could emigrate to the United States and continue his work as Rabbi. During the preparation for a radio show on NPR, an American broadcasting channel, Journalist Lonny Shavelson accompagnied Trepp celebrating the Seder evening within his family and friend circle. The video gives insight into the ceremony of the Seder which initiates the celebration of the Passover holiday:
Interview “One of the last eye witnesses” on HaGalil.com
In this entry, journalist Igal Avidan talks to Rabbi Leo Trepp about his life as a Jewish student at a University in Germany in the 1930ies when the Nazis took power. Ordained as Rabbi in 1935, Trepp was arrested during the Pogrom Night in 1938 and interned at the Concentration Camp Sachsenhausen. He succeeded to emigrate from there to England, and later to the United States. Avidan and Trepp touch on a variety of controversial topics such as the role of women in modern Jewry and the integration of non-Jewish spouses into Jewish communities. Lastly, Trepp points out that today, the fight against anti-Semitism is the main responsibility of the German people and society. The article was published in July 2006 in the Jewish Swiss Magazine tachles and the Jewish online- portal HaGalil.com.
Portrait “The last of his kind”, published by Jüdische Allgemeine
Journalist Igal Avidan depicts the life of Rabbi Leo Trepp. Born and raised in Germany, Trepp left Germany after the Pogrom Night in 1938 and emigrated to the United States. His former homeland still is close to his heart – after the War, Trepp was actively engaged in the re-construction of Jewish communities in Germany and interreligious dialogue between Judaism and Christianity. Today, Trepp is especially concerned about the danger of renewed anti-Semitism in Germany and sees the main responsibility of the German society in the duty to “become the leading country in the fight against anti-Semitism”.
The article by Igal Avidan was published in Jüdische Allgemeine on June 29, 2006.