NACHMANN, WERNER (1925–1988), industrialist and German-Jewish communal leader. Born in Karlsruhe (Baden), he fled with his family to France in 1938 and returned as an officer in the French army to his native city in 1945. He was the chairman of the Karlsruhe Jewish community (1961–88), of the Association of Jewish Communities (Oberrat) in Baden, and of the Central Council of Jews in Germany between 1969 and his death in 1988. He received numerous awards, such as the Theodor Heuss Prize, for his efforts regarding the improvement of Jewish-Christian relations. He was, however, also criticized during his long tenure as top official of Germany's Jewish communities as being too lenient toward former Nazis. Thus, his defense of the minister president of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Hans Filbinger, who faced accusations over his role as a judge during World War II, caused considerable protest within and beyond the Jewish community. Immediately after Nachmann's death it was discovered that he had embezzled about DM 33 million of restitution money. Although his successor, Heinz Galinski, made this affair public and tried to discover where the money had gone, it was never resolved conclusively.
Y.M. Bodemann, Gedaechtnistheater (1996).
[Michael Brenner (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.