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Gershom Scholem Letter to Aniela Jaffe

1 Jaffe

Letters Volume II

Gershom Scholem Letter to Aniela Jaffe

Dear Mrs. Jaffe: Jerusalem 7 May 1963

As you are so interested in the story of Baeck and Jung, I will write it down for your benefit and have no objection to being cited by you in this matter.

In the summer of 194 7 Leo Baeck was in Jerusalem.

I had then just received for the first time an invitation to the Eranos meeting in Ascona, evidently at Jung’s suggestion, and I asked Baeck whether I should accept it, as I had heard and read many protests about Jung’s behavior in the Nazi period.

Baeck said: “You must go, absolutely!” and in the course of our conversation told me the following story.

He too had been put off by Jung’s reputation resulting from those well-known articles in the years 1933-34, precisely because he knew Jung very well from the Darmstadt meetings of the School of Wisdom and would never have credited him with any Nazi and anti-Semitic sentiments.

When, after his release from Theresienstadt, he returned to Switzerland for the first time (I think it was 1946), he therefore did not call on Jung in Zurich.

But it came to Jung’s ears that he was in the city and Jung sent a message begging him to visit him, which he, Baeck, declined because of those happenings.

Whereupon Jung came to his hotel and they had an extremely lively talk lasting two hours, during which Baeck reproached him with all the things he had heard.

Jung defended himself by an appeal to the special conditions in Germany but at the same time confessed to him: “Well, I slipped up”-probably referring to the Nazis and his expectation that something great might after all emerge.

This remark, “I slipped up,” which Baeck repeated to me several times, remains vividly in my memory.

Baeck said that in this talk they cleared up everything that had come between them and that they parted from one another reconciled again.

Because of this explanation of Baeck’s I accepted the invitation to Eranos when it came a second time.

Yours sincerely,

G. Scholem ~Jung’s Last Years, Pages 97-98.