Hans W. Baade


As Interviewed by Alan Baade, March 14, 2016

Hans W. Baade: In His Own Words

My name is Hans W. Baade. I was born in 1929 in Berlin, Germany. I am still a citizen of the Federal Republic of Germany. I grew up in Turkey until I reached the age of 16, I then came briefly to the U.S., and after finishing college, went back to Germany. I then came back to the U.S. to do my military service. [I] went to law school, but then I went to back to Germany for my academic career. After about 3 or 4 years there, I received an offer from my American law school, Duke, and joined their faculty. Since then, I have been a professor at Duke for 10 years, at the University of Toronto for one year, and at Texas for about 45 years.

My parents were worried about any possibility of the outbreak of World War 2. They were also worried about the course of World War 2. They were also worried about my brother who served in World War 2. My father was a politician who belonged to the Social Democratic Party, which voted against Hitlerís Enabling Act. He himself actually was a member of parliament and did vote against that statute. The party was later outlawed by the Nazis and he was left without employment. Luckily, he got a job in Turkey in 1935.

I came back to Germany in 1949, by which time the worst destruction, in the West anyway, had been cleared away. You could still see a good bit of bomb damage, but that was taken care of relatively quickly. By the time I left in 1955, it was very difficult to see any evidence of World War 2. [There was] no discrimination against Jews in Germany after the war.

Turkey, as I knew it, and as it was when I revisited it, was a developing country, as they call it. [It was] rather primitive in the countryside, but increasingly developed in the cities. In the cities, [they were] offering European or American styled life, at least to those who could afford it. Germany, as far as I can tell, is very much comparable to the U.S. and the standard living, and both of them are very comfortable countries to live in.

The closest I came to communism is observing East Germany, which was a communist state for 40 years, and apparently, it doesn't work. At least, that has convinced a good many people, virtually everybody, that communism, the way it was originally thought about, or even as it was practiced through the years, cannot achieve the standard of living that people feel that they are entitled to. So, I guess [that] you would have to say that communism turned out to be a failure.