Feb 14, 2013
A Nazi's Son in the IDF

Dr. Bernd Wollschlaeger shares his story about the journey from his Nazi father's house of hatred to the ranks of the Jewish people.


Dr Bernd Wollschlaeger’s 14 year old son wanted to know his saba. For the first time Bernd shared the story of his life and his Nazi father. He was afraid of rejection but his son thought his story was cool. Three weeks later was Family History Day at his children’s school. Called into the office to meet with the principal and the Rabbi, he was worried that they would repudiate him. They suggested that his son was delusional and was making up a story about his grandfather the famous Nazi. Bernd related the whole story to the enraptured school leaders. Since that time he has been sharing the story regularly and finds a weight has been lifted from his shoulders.

World War II was a verboten topic in the Wollschlaeger home. Any questions were met with silence, and yet Bernd’s father considered a hero by his buddies, was decorated with the Iron cross by Hitler himself. Bernd was 14 when the Munich Olympics, meant to reinstate Germany amongst the civilized world, were the scene of the massacre of the Israeli team. The headlines read “Jews Killed in Germany Again.” Young Bernd was confused, it happened before? Unable to get a response from his parents, the answers were forthcoming in school. Horrified by what happened to the Jews at the hands of the Germans, he needed to find out his father’s involvement. A raging alcoholic, his father could be tricked into opening up at that point of shikerness, before becoming totally drunk. Finally the truth came out, “We are German, representatives of a pure race, with a historic obligation to clear up the riff raff in the east. The only mistake was in using the train capacity to transport the Jews to the camps, instead of bringing supplies to our troops. The Jews made us lose the war.”

From that moment Bernd began his journey to get beyond the hatred, and learn more about Jews. He was helped on the way by a former Jesuit priest, and many Holocaust survivors, both on a trip to Israel and back in Bamberg where he completed medical school. The decision to convert led him on a long road, the Rabbi in Frankfurt he was sent to refuse to convert Germans. Eventually he succeeded in fulfilling his dream and left for Israel, and enlistment in the IDF as a medical officer.

Dr. Wollschlaeger concludes the fascinating story with this important rule: Hatred starts with a word uttered quietly, and then louder, if left unchallenged it is followed by deeds that become habits which lead to social norms where the entire group condones the attitudes, as in Nazi Germany.


Watch on TorahCafé.com!


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1
i saw him first!
at the jli national jewish retreat!!
amazing!
(2/14/2013 10:16:46 AM)
2
amazing person
he and his daughter went to the march of the living and he is very committed to Judaism
(2/14/2013 11:57:02 AM)
3
everyone should hear this
What a story. I cried and laught at the same time.
Only Jewish people can treat this son of a nazi so kind.
(2/14/2013 12:52:02 PM)
4
Amazing. Awesome. A real tear-jerker
Amazing and moving.
(2/14/2013 1:16:15 PM)
5
Fascinating!
Am amazing Yid!!!
(2/14/2013 1:53:25 PM)
6
Last for words
Amazing
Wow
(2/14/2013 2:02:25 PM)
7
Amazing
Thanks for sharing this. This is touching and I admire him for his courage.
(2/14/2013 3:59:57 PM)
8
WOWWWWW!
Really really enjoyed that ! Thank you collive!
(2/14/2013 7:21:27 PM)
9
Shocked
Fourteen years old!!! A schoolboy in Germany in 1972 had never heard of the Holocaust! I never imagined that they hid or could have hidden this from their children. Wow.
(2/14/2013 8:51:58 PM)
10
Needs to be a BOOK!
Why have I never heard of this phenomenal person before? I listened to his speech with a sense of awe, humility and total fascination at his calm, humorous and shattering story of his birth family and his conversion and life's work. This is the sort of narrative that needs to be widely publicized. May Dr. W., live a long, happy and satisfying life.
Susan Addelston; NYC
(2/15/2013 12:05:34 AM)
11
wow I loved it!
truly an amazing story and an amazing person!
(2/15/2013 5:51:01 AM)
12
more and more
He has been talking more and hadn't before probably because of his children. You need to watch his daughter speak. He has a great story to tell about redemption,etc
(2/15/2013 12:04:25 PM)
13
Wow
What an amazing story!!!
(2/16/2013 7:12:41 AM)
14
Shidduch in Chabad
Ha ha ha!

My parents, good healthy people, got divorced 20 years ago, and this is a major issue when looking for a shidduch.

Can you imagine this amazing man with the "yichus" of a nazi father...

I can just see the shadchen's face when he discloses this little fact.

OMG....
(2/20/2013 11:18:44 AM)
15
Shidduch soon
With such courage and will Im sure he will find hes Shidduch
no matter the shadchen's face.
The fact of his family and were he stands now makes him even greater.
We all wish him the best
(2/28/2013 3:46:02 AM)
16
It's an amazing story
I enjoyed very much this video. Not many germans are like him in this world.
I am a holocust survivor that lived in Hungary at the age of 9 and is alive today by miracle. Thanks to the the courage and the good heart of a righteous christian who was distant relative, and took the risk to hide me with my mother.
(2/28/2013 10:11:23 PM)
17
The courage of his convictions
I feel humbled and uplifted by this man's journey. He stands 10feet tall and I wish him only good things. His path was filled by obstacles but his belief in becoming a Jew sustained him throughout. Everyone, whichever faith they belong to, should hear his story. I wish him all the best.
(3/2/2013 11:12:17 AM)
18
good should bless him
courage - not everyone will go so far againt their faMILY

PNINA
(3/2/2013 12:02:07 PM)
19
Yael me' ha-aretz
I was a teen-ager at the time of the holocaust. I was born, grew up in USA, became a Physical Therapist, emigrated to Israel, lived as an Israeli, practicing my profession & returned to the USA, 17 years later. While I was away. ''hippy-ism'' had arisen in the US. It was practically gone, but one thing they had said= ''Don.t trust anyone over 30'' remained= and grew!! There was now a new hatred/prejudice. It had a name= ''Age-ism''. When I went to work as a P.T. in America, in a school, the teachers put me under so much stress, I broke down & was diagnosed with PTSD & put on disability; unable to ever work again.... So people haven't been able to learn= although w/ these new generations, 'X & Y', I begin to see some hope. They don't seem to be prejudiced.
(3/4/2013 12:12:39 AM)
20
A Truly Unique Human Being!
Everybody should read his book "A German Life". The story of his quest to become a Jew. It's an inspiring story. I met the man. He's a real Mentsh!
(3/4/2013 5:19:04 PM)
21
Retired
Intergration works so well in the US; therefor, might consider intergrating Israel and the Palestanians.
(3/5/2013 1:04:27 AM)
22
Shocked?
(Shocked, nr 9). Shocked, really? just think in how many western countries subject of Holocaust is being removed from school's carriculum?! Nothing new, regarding German schools, especially, East German schools in the early post-war years. Even we, in post-war Poland, in the early- to mid-1950's, knew about Holocaust! And that's where most of took place!
(3/6/2013 6:16:56 PM)
23
Hope!
This amazing story gives me a little hope for the future - thank goodness that evil is not automatically passed on from father to son. Thank you for sharing.
(3/7/2013 2:54:15 AM)
24
Shocked
so amazing!
(3/7/2013 9:42:23 AM)
25
gerald pomerantz/ video
/somewhat paralells my life in frankfurt
please call me 561 735 3550
(3/7/2013 2:27:13 PM)
26
Hope
I have heard him speak....Read his book...Awesome.. do hope people will learn...S
(3/7/2013 6:37:36 PM)
27
concensus
What we may learn in bringing together Jews and Palestinians in Israel. It is not too late to try to make
amends for past errors.
(3/8/2013 5:31:26 AM)
28
AM A SURVIVE
he made me,i remember my father telling don't blaime
all the german,he was in consentrcion camp,I LOST ALL MY FAMILY,LUCKY ONLY MY FATHER CAME BACK,DC BERGN MAKE ME REMEMBER THE HOLOCAUST
(3/8/2013 6:12:26 PM)
29
Amazing

Thanks for sharing this. This is touching and I admire him for his courage.I am a son holocust survivor .call me if I can invite you to tell your live story to children at school 514 777 7751
(3/8/2013 10:39:32 PM)
30
Iam a 78 year old Canadian- Amazing!
I feel blessed that I and my generation have not had to participate in any wars or experience the any of the terrible consequences of wars. Dr.W's video is a must for all to hear.
(3/13/2013 11:45:39 AM)
31
Dr George
I am the son of a holocaust survivor...who had her guts literally and really pulled out of her stomach ...she died of colorectal cancer after 40 yrs of operations...was a religious Jew and lost her 11 brothers and sisters, mother, father etc. to the Nazi...this man gives me hope...He is amazing....amazing...I am drenched in tears...Dr. G. (Baruch) (Tzvi)...
(3/13/2013 9:53:54 PM)
32
Laura Viner
Amazing story and an amazing person.......kol hakavod!
(3/14/2013 7:38:24 AM)
33
A way back to recover the soul of his family
Very deep and honest insight a man of truth and courage.Esther Gur
(3/14/2013 10:24:45 AM)
34
Amazing person
Very brave boy to face his family's past ......very touching story ... KOL HAKAVOD .
(3/14/2013 2:37:07 PM)
35
A real Mench
What a moving story. Wish more Germans felt this way
(3/14/2013 7:18:04 PM)
36
What an inspiration!
Bernd Wollschlaeger is a saint and a tzadik. What an amazing story. I must get hold of his book. He has renewed my faith in humanity.
(3/17/2013 7:45:56 AM)
37
A nazis son in IDF
Incredible story. What an amazing person
(3/17/2013 5:55:15 PM)
38
TRUTH
I was in the Canadian Military in Germany, 1960, and at 22 had the opportunity to to learn German because of it's similarity to my Yiddish background. I met many young Germans who told me that their parents never told them the truth about the war and they learned from TV documentaries and school. They dreaded the draft into the military and many became distant to their parents because of the silence.
This lecture is a is a reinforcement of my personal experience.
(3/18/2013 11:16:37 PM)
39
Freedom
After watching this video freedom is the word that came into my mind. The doctor feel free and at peace after he came face to face with his own demon. We all have demons inside ourself and once we face our demon and conquer it then we are free.
(3/19/2013 11:27:05 AM)
40
TRUTH
I lived in England in the 60s and 70s. At one point I worked with a lovely woman from Germany. One day she told me she had read the novel "The Odessa Files" and commented that she had never been taught about the Nazi period in school. She said that history was taught up to Hitler's take-over - and then there was WWII - and then the post-war period. I directed her to some other literature which would enlighten her about what actually happened. I imagine that for many Germans born in the post-war period, it was a little difficult to ask: "And Daddy/Mommy, what did you do in the 1930s and during the war?"
(3/19/2013 5:56:59 PM)
41
Amazing
Was glued to the computer.
Such an amazing heartfelt story.
What a special man.
(3/20/2013 1:20:27 PM)
42
Alvin Pollack
Great it is amazining
(3/20/2013 3:21:12 PM)
43
THANK YOU
Thank you for sharing this incredible piece of 'history' and history it is. It happened. Its real. It had an impact on many people.
(3/21/2013 4:19:22 AM)
44
Most interesting; totally absorbing
A facinating story well told and explained
(3/23/2013 8:02:58 AM)
45
I admire him for his courage Gretel Mrerom, Hsifa, Israel
IHIIe has the courage of his own conviction. I also happen to know somebody, who went the whole way back
(3/28/2013 12:23:16 PM)
46
marilyn katz
this took concerted effort and tremendous strength - wonderful man!
(3/28/2013 1:45:47 PM)
47
Pauline Binstock. London
What an incredible story by this incredible man. This would make an amazing film. Can someone try contacting Steven Speilberg please!!
(3/29/2013 4:05:38 PM)
48
Love Is the Answer!
Love always transcends the lies and the hatred!
(3/29/2013 10:06:11 PM)
49
Zehavit Nachman
Im speechless ! no words to describe my feelings after i saw this video! what a brave and special person ! he is the hope for a better world !
(3/30/2013 7:50:07 AM)
50
Rochelle Kindler. Australia
What an inspiring man.Such an emotional story which should be shown all over the world to teach tolerance and humanity to every culture. It seems that so many countries (incl. Australia) has a history of atrocities commited by its own people. It is probably just as well he wasn't around at the time of Nazi Germany because standing up and questioning their motives wouldn't have been tolerated by them and therefore he would have led to his being silenced /killed. Very honest and very brave. What a load to carry around. He is wonderful.
(3/30/2013 3:28:25 PM)
51
Lynne silver
Few people make their mark on life and on others....you have done this.
Your courage, emotion and belief....just amazing!
Write the book, make the film and spread the word !
(3/31/2013 5:14:34 AM)
52
WOW
UDI HAZAN
I admire this man for his courage is that because The Jewish GILT was contagious.. Well it is working every time.
But we need more like him in this crazy world.
(3/31/2013 10:58:21 PM)
53
Pamela Dennill
To be objective about one's immediate family, belief leanings and nation into which you are born, is a very difficult and testing exercise. Dr. Bernd Wollschlaeger is one of a few in the human race who has been able to do this. He clearly is not a follower, is a thinker in the realm of human tolerance, understanding and pursuit of justice. He not only believes in and values his instincts of right and wrong but acts on them with bravery and strength as well. He enlightens one's beliefs in the nature of man and is an example to emmulate.
(4/1/2013 6:45:19 PM)
54
Ben-Zion Macanian
Dr Bernd you are welcomed to our nation and I admire your morality and courage and there is a big distance between thinking what you thought and doing what you did .G-D bless you and all nation of Israel
(4/2/2013 2:19:31 PM)
55
Ester Shifren
What an incredible story, and what an amazing man.
During WWII when I was five I was a POW for three years in Shanghai during the occupation. We were British Jews and interned with all other allies. Thanks to Germany's starting the war we lost all worldly possessions and optimal health.
After our family's century in China we emigrated to Israel. I have written a well researched book about our experience, titled "Hiding in a Cave of Trunks," because I don't think the story should ever be forgotten.
(4/3/2013 12:48:08 AM)
56
Michael
Without diminishing this man's amazing story and recognizing he came from a righteous gentile mentality before converting I could not help but think what a tiny minority he represents. There is so much anti-Antisemitism in Germany today and the other European countries. If only there were more who thought as he does. His story only emphasizes how many still don't get it and are perfectly satisfied wallowing in hatred for Jews and Israel. His story is the exception to the rule.
(4/4/2013 1:38:24 AM)
57
Speechless...
This was so moving. Yet I agree with Michael's comment, just before mine, that the terrible truth is that the terrible disease of anti-Semitism is still rampant. May G-d help us all.
(4/5/2013 10:08:26 AM)
58
It happened before...
According to the Talmud (Gittin 57-2) Schammai and Avtaljon were descendants from Sanherib, the Eichmann of the Assyrians; (701 B.C.) both were among the most outstanding Teachers of the hebrew Law. (1st Cent. B.C.)
(4/5/2013 4:19:59 PM)
59
Simi
Amazing, uplifting, Madhim!!!
(4/6/2013 12:17:36 PM)
60
Thousand Likes!
Is this a COL first?
(4/7/2013 9:04:01 PM)
61
Karen Miller West Orange, New Jersey
OMG! Dr. Bernd Wolshlaeger ... a FASCINATING! & a COMPELLING!..Memoir/story! KOL HAKAVOD.. to you for your guts, bravery, knowledge & instincts and being the individual Hashem has created in all of us to be...(hopefully!) ! EVERYONE MUSH WATCH AND LISTEN TO THIS!
I happened to be on one of The Jewish Retreats...but sorry it was not this one! Totally amazing... A Shining example...& Thank you.
(4/8/2013 1:23:32 AM)
62
Daniel Halfon Inbar[1940], Haifa, Israel [originally from Istanbul
I congratulate this very courageous man, with all
my heart. I hope to meet YOU here in Israel at a very
first occasion. I'll be grateful if you contact me, Sir :
04-82 44 634 inbaradi@012.net.il
(4/8/2013 8:41:30 AM)
63
Bea Kallus
I thought I knew all the stories from every side of the Shoah. My husband was a surviver, with numbers and stories he would not freely share. But this is yet another side. Dr. Wolshlager is a very brave man. I thank you for sharing.
(4/8/2013 8:56:36 PM)
64
מדהים ומרגש
בעזרת ה', שתמשיך להפיץ את הסיפור שלך, ושזה רק יחזק אותך ואת השומעים! מדהים!
(4/9/2013 8:47:23 AM)
65
CA Public School Educator!
Many of us have relatives who were murdered, escaped the Nazis..I am a Public School Teacher in N.CA & there is Public school Teacher from Germany who constantly tells everyone that the Holocaust 'Never Existed" & she is sick & tired of "JEWS" blaming Germans for something that never happened!...I worry about her brainwashing tactics infiltrating vulnerable & impressionable children she teaches (elementary school)..What can I do to educate this adult teacher or is she Too Far Gone?
(4/9/2013 11:51:14 AM)
66
dumbfounded.....
Heads up to you! I wish you only good things to come your way!
From a daughter whose parents are Holocaust survivors.
(4/9/2013 7:08:02 PM)
67
Chanie sanders
What an incredible story of the human spirit. He makes me hopeful that truth and doing the right thing can prevail over intolerance and hate.
(4/10/2013 6:58:03 AM)
68
Globalize this story!!!!!!!!!!
Such a positive, calm, optimistic attitude after all he went through! so full of love, of hope for humanity!
EVERYONE SHOULD HEAR AND SEE HIM TELL IT. IT SHOULD NOT BE THE PRIVILEGE OF JUST A FEW.
Sarah Taieb
(4/10/2013 5:07:12 PM)
69
Valid Lessons Everywhere
What a way to gain personal redemption.
(4/10/2013 8:21:52 PM)
70
Kol haKavod to Bernd
Amazing story and wise words spoken with heartfelt conviction. Janet
(4/11/2013 6:15:02 AM)
71
Repeated telling lifts his burden
Quite unusual. Bernie
(4/11/2013 9:49:55 AM)
72
a nazi's son in the Idf
Is there a video about hm?s
Sheri3950@aol.com
(4/12/2013 10:31:09 AM)
73
מעשה נועז
הקשבתי לדברים שנאמרו מפי האיש המדהים הזה ולא יכולתי שלא להשוות אותו לאברהם אבינו.
אברהם אבינו היה בנו של תרח עובד אלילים,אברהם הבין שהאלילים אינם האל הבורא הכל יכול לכן הוא החל בחיפושים אחר האמת אחר הצדק אחר האלוהים דר ברנד עשה את אותו מעשה !עזב את בית הוריו חסר כל כי משהו בער בו !הוא לא השלים עם העוולות הנוראיות של הנאציים!הוא גיבור אמיתי מי ייתן ויקומו עוד גיבורים כמוהו הוא מנהיג אמיתי!
הלוואי ותהיה לי הזכות להביא אותו לסטודנטים שלי
אני חושבת שדבריו ראויים להשמע בפני אנשים יהודיים ושאינם יהודיים
חמדה מורה בבית ספר יהודי בממפיס ארצות הברית
Hemdabooth@mhafyos.org
יישר כוח
אתה גאווה אוניברסאלית
(4/13/2013 11:09:33 PM)
74
Forgive

Be ware of what your words mean to others THINK BEFORE YOU STIR SOME ONE UP IN THE WRONG WAY
sUPPORT THE WORLD DO NOT DESTROY IT
i WOULD LIKE TO LEARN MORE AABOUT THIS MAN'S LIFE
SHEL
(4/14/2013 12:54:52 AM)
75
brain!!!!
how does tbe brain works!
the answer is in the brain
not the heart!!!
(4/14/2013 9:45:45 AM)
76
One From the Heart
This is such a riveting story. It's so good that Dr. Bernd was able to free his soul and contribute something positive to humanity in the process. It is a mitzvah that he shared this story of courage. In a way, it freed a piece of my soul too. My parents were both holocaust survivors.
(4/14/2013 6:23:20 PM)
77
he s not the only one ...
see french film 'descendants de nazis , l héritage infernal '
nephew of goering and other relatives of nazis that became jews and even rabbis ...
(4/14/2013 7:12:23 PM)
78
I married into a nazi family
My wife's grandfather, who I met in Germany admitted he was a hitler youth. I didn't know what to say. I was stunned. But I can only imagine the discussions when my wife - on her own free will converted to Judaism and married the son of an israelli. I will say that I saw evidence of abuse in their farming town against the nazi youth when they refused to do as told. Still his hands shook, he showed me the proper graves they made for the Jews the SS caught - buried beside the non Jewish who tried to hide them. As the allies came through the nazis were ordered to murder the whole town. You can see signs of shelling still - the allies - Americans did less damage and killed less non Jews than their own countries soldiers. It is amazing to me how hard it is to convince people to do good - and how easy it is to convince them to do harm.
(4/14/2013 10:07:34 PM)
79
A painful search for the truth
Moving story, but there are others who followed the same path. I met one of them in Berlin! We can but admire these everyday heroes , who went beyond their own limits and education to find out the truth.. Remarkable people. Let's hope they will find followers in today's world also. Thanks to all of them for giving us hope for a better future.
(4/15/2013 9:04:43 AM)
80
...and back in Bamberg where he completed medical school
the only thing, there is no medical school in Bamberg
(4/15/2013 2:19:49 PM)
81
and back in Bamberg where he completed medical school......
To a cynic.....there IS a medical school on Bamberg.....but this is hardly the most important fact!

The University of Bamberg is both the newest and one of the oldest universities in Bavaria. On November 14, 1647, the Bamberg Prince Bishop Melchior Otto Voit von Salzburg expanded the town’s Jesuit college into the Academia Otto- niana by adding the Philosophy and Theology faculties. In the festschrift, it is referred to as the “Domus Sapientiae”: the House of Wisdom. Prince Bishop Friedrich Carl von Schönborn continued the expansion of the Academia to a fully fledged university by adding a law school; with the later addition of a medical school, the transformation to the classical four-faculty university was complete.
(4/15/2013 6:35:14 PM)
82
An amazing story.
He is an example of a man who was able to redeem his father's sin by being a Mensch!
(4/17/2013 11:15:26 PM)
83
An amazing story
When I saw that this was over 45 minutes, I was about to delete it. Something told me to watch it. It brought me to tears, and I am so grateful that I saw it. What an amazing person!!!!
(4/18/2013 3:04:06 PM)
84
Wow
How truthful ! Wonderful !
(4/19/2013 1:04:46 PM)
85
Amazing and Sad!
I am from a jewish background, Israeli, and lived & completed my studies in W.Germany in the 70s. Met many older Germans. One common story/lie I heard again and again: we were forced to join the party, but we knew nothing, we saw nothing and we heard nothing!
On the other hand, the TV at that time was saturated with WWII documentaries, all was laid out there bare for all to see & hear, warts and all, nothing was hidden! I don't know if things have changed since then.
Also, I suspect that the history curriculum books in schools were written by the same perpetrators, as they still are alive and hold top positions in government.........................
(4/21/2013 9:52:59 PM)
86
Beth
I welcome this special human being with open arms. May he live without guilt for the sin of his fathers.May he serve as a role model for thers to follow.
(4/22/2013 12:41:56 PM)
87
Emotions
Very moving point "...we have no emotions...so he uses Money to express how he feels..."
(4/22/2013 9:57:08 PM)
88
moishy f
Truly Amazing, However I disagree, with 2 items, #1 you cant ever truly say you understand the pain. #2 the Holocaust is a perfectly fitting name. The Documentary f the Twisted Cross shows how Adolf Hitler Yimach shemoy used religion as a basis for his Nazi Doctrine and then twisted hence the Swastika ... a twisted cross. As a burnt offering... whether you want to view them as an offering of some twisted satanic ritual the "cleaning" as you said your father called it or as Kedoshim, what we call them .. regardless they are sacrafices....an offring isnt always something done out of wll, sometimes you are required to... apparently these filled that requirement.
All that aside. I am amazed that somone who comes such a background.Indoctrinated with hate has become part of the religion that has so much love. I am fascinated by your story. kol hakavod lecha....
(4/23/2013 8:34:00 PM)
89
Amazing
I just finished reading his book. I would recommend reading eat
I could not put the book down.
(4/23/2013 9:16:39 PM)
90
Moving Historical Story of Aliya
Nicely told, horrific past overcome. And most importantly UNDERSTOOD!
(4/25/2013 3:54:57 AM)
91
A Question
How is it possible a 14 year old living in Germany doesn't know of the Holocaust? Anti semitism STILL exists in Germany (and elsewhere).
(4/25/2013 11:45:03 AM)
92
bubby
this man is a healer.......but not only by profession..........may god bless him with his continuance to teach ,,heal and communicate with the entire world
..
(4/28/2013 10:40:08 AM)
93
A story from a sheltered past
I was a soldier in Germany during 1957 and 1958, having been drafted. Since German was my most recent language studied in college, I refused to speak English as much as possible - BUT, never did socialize with Germans beyond polite chatter in trains, stores, etc.
I was traveling back from leave in Paris, and sat in a compartment with a lady who turned out to be from the next town between Frankfurt and Gelnhausen where I was stationed. She commented on my German (very kind, since it wasn't what you'd call fluent), and I told her I used it any chance I could. She asked if I had socialized with Germans, since that would have been a great way to improve my German. I explained to her that I was a Jew, and as such felt that it was much too soon (in my young and not so great knowledge of "social justice") to "befriend" those people who just a few short years ago would have me dead - and would have succeeded had history been different.
She very calmly asked if I thought all Germans were guilty, and I flustered a response (I'm not even sure I know what I replied, but I know it was inadequate.) She calmly pulled up the long sleeve on her blouse as she told me she was not a Jew, and showed me the telltale tattoo which identified her as a concentration camp victim. If the floor of the train could have been opened, I would have sunk to the tracks in that moment.
That lesson in life taught me that generalizations (even though I know this academically) were NEVER proper, and it was NEVER proper to aint a whole people with a wide brush!
(4/28/2013 4:57:41 PM)
94
Welcome and thank you for becoming one of us.
What a delightful human being! It is a privilege to have watched/listened to his story. He is certainly a thoughtful and courageous human being and we should all welcome him with open arms into our Jewish community. Julie V., Louisville,KY.
(5/3/2013 1:46:32 PM)
95
Sandy from Tamarac, Florida
I had the opportunity to hear him speak on 3 occasions. I also read his book. He is a remarkable person that has much to offer. I wish more young people can benefit from his story. Hate breeds hate. He shows us how asking questions and trying to make a wrong, right can give us all hope. I hope many people read his book and have an opportunity to hear him speak. Thank you for sharing your story.
P.S. sometimes we can learn from our children. Thank your son for thinking his dad is cool. It opened an avenue so you can tell your story. Bravo to you both.
(5/3/2013 9:48:13 PM)
96
A powerful message for all people of conscience
Despite the horrors of the Holocaust we can't ignore the fact that antisemitisim is still exists in Europe. Hungary, for example is nurturing a revival of a Nazi style antisemitism as I write. However, the doctor's incredible account offers hope that good sometimes comes from evil. The doctor's message of acceptance followed by making amends is a very positive one and G-d willing will be heard and read throughout the world. Dolores W., Oceanside, CA.
(5/4/2013 1:30:11 AM)
97
Better the 2nd Time Around
Having seen Dr. Wollschllaeger several years ago at a Hadassah meeting, I enjoyed hearing him again. Over time we tend to forget details and the reminders were welcome. At that time, I purchased 2 copies of his book and need to find them....buried somewhere among the many books in my house!! If you can still get a copy of 'A German Life', do so. Janet Berman, Boynton Beach, FL
(5/4/2013 10:43:21 AM)
98
Simply Amazing
The good that came from the evil. How big the heart of this doctor. I had to listen to it twice to make sure I heard it all right. I admire his courage, and forgiving. Vancouver, BC
(5/6/2013 2:56:40 AM)
99
Wow!!!
Wow!!!!
(5/7/2013 10:29:10 AM)
100
Fathers and Sons
A thread running through this humbling story is the father/son relationships: the dark one and the loving ones. the love of this band of Holocaust survivors in Bamberg in contrast to the drunk, overbearing 'biological 'father is striking. Then Tal, in his innocence, saves his own father from an unsettled, dark place by opening up the gates, so his father has a chance to come full circle and fulfill his life by sharing his story. Thank you for bringing us this modest, humorous, courageous person, Rifka
(5/8/2013 12:39:51 PM)
101
moving
A very moving story, very well spoken and an amazing guy
(5/10/2013 2:36:39 PM)
102
a nazi son in the idf
mind blowing what a guy not very many like him
(5/11/2013 5:44:21 AM)
103
Dark Lullabies
As a child of Survivors, I am glad to hear Dr. Wollschlaeger speak from his good heart and to learn about all that he is doing to repair the world -- his and all of ours. I did a film in 1985 called Dark Lullabies about the effects of the Holocaust on the next generation of Jews and Germans. At the time the silence in Germany was deafening and most 2nd generation neither knew of their history not were coming to terms with the past. Now there are more extraordinary Germans like Dr. Wollschlaeger. After all these years, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario is, showing the film on June 14. If you are interested in pursuing the subject, come see it.
(5/11/2013 4:52:24 PM)
104
Couldn't put his book down
Very interesting story.
(5/19/2013 1:48:31 PM)
105
Very riveting!
I was raised in Brooklyn, went to a Yeshiva where I met with several other children who were children born in either a Concentration Camp and then liberated, or, born in a "D.P.Camp". I heard stories and saw pictures of the camps as well as mementos of the camps that their parents gathered, or took. At that time I found myself with the chills being educated as to the happenings, at this time, those chills re-surfaced and reminded me of my friends, and the chills I felt back then.
(5/23/2013 2:11:23 AM)
106
Brilliant speaker
I wish there were more Germans (and Austrians) like him but, sadly, there are not many. Anti-Semitism is stiff very rife in Europe and not only in Germany and Austria. There is anti-Semitism, disguised as anti-Zionism, in the UK, France, Spain and Italy too - today.
(5/26/2013 7:59:41 AM)
107
the guy /dr./ a hero
holocast by church happened before and will /happen again even if it is cold islam /religion use human hatred for selfish purpos......luteran w/ catolic etc
(5/29/2013 10:51:17 PM)
108
Wrote a book
Bernd Wollschlaeger wrote a book; Against All Odds. He spoke to our Hadassah group in Delray Beach, FL. A brave and wonderful man.
(5/31/2013 7:14:31 PM)
109
courage
a lot of courage was needed to do what our guy did, why does'nt he live in Israel?! Not many have this line of Moral,
as an Israeli veteran and a holocost survivor, I salute to him.
Eli Baran
(6/2/2013 2:03:19 AM)
110
holocaust
I am born in Berlin we was living peacefull . I was 1933 when Hitler cam 6 jears old ,i went true all the brutalitaet from the Nazis,in Berlin the 1938 Progrom where all the Synagoge was burning, my brother Sigi {the famieli call him later Popi} he has Barmitzwa in a burning Synagog I will never forget we have not enougf people to pray the Tohras was burning on the flore. we went true hell 6 concentration camps, we was on a transport to Auschwitz,I could scap from the transport,my brother Sigi went with this transport to auschwitz Hell ,2 people from this transport after the warr coming bak a life from this Hell my brother sigi and a other men ,live in Florida.I was my self 2 times condam to deat and the german army want to shoot me and a Priest come to the German Officier an fall to his niegs and asc the officier,pleas give me my child bak.I thing the Nazi offesier was Catholic,and he say take him ,when we left 2 minutes later we hear the shooting ,ther kill over 200 men , after I was liberaetet in Italie from the Amerikan armee, I went to Israel.I was in the Hagana and then in the armee.,Im a survivor from the Holocaust ,like Eli say I salut this unic Men
(6/7/2013 5:18:46 PM)
111
Thank God there is one good soul descended from a Nazi.
Thank God this man is evolved and descent. I am pleased and grateful that such a good-hearted humanitarian type resulted from "thinking" outside the confines of the prejudice of his people. I usually wish the worst on the descendants of Nazis who murdered my relatives in "Poland" which was really "Russia" and Belarus and Lithuania now.
(6/9/2013 12:17:53 PM)
112
toby weiss
this man should be speaking in high schools and synagogues all over the world. he is so inspirational and has an important message.
i was spellbound while listening to his words.
(6/11/2013 11:21:46 AM)
113
gloria wright
amazing man with understanding and insight - there are not enough people of his calibre in this world
(6/18/2013 5:48:22 PM)
114
Honza
Nazism, Islamism and Communism are sick ideologies. But Hashem bet to the human heart there to find a sparkle of love and rightiousness. I happens even to moslems and they convert.
(7/3/2013 2:00:38 AM)
115
My conversion and interest in Aliyah
When I converted, it softened my father's antisemitism. He had subscribed to a magazine that denied the existence of the holocost and had stated that he would have been a Nazi had he been in Germany. His antisemitsm could be softened, and I believe it was softened. I still regret however, not challenging him directly and bringing him to the Holocost museum or to speakers of survivors. I wondered if Bernd's choice to become Jewish had a similar effect on softening his father's views?
(7/7/2013 3:49:48 PM)
116
In Israel
Very powerful message that we would do well to internalize and apply here, where different groups attack each other for their differing beliefs. He was a very effective speaker and wow, what a story! It would be great if he could speak in every German elementary and high school!
(7/16/2013 6:56:39 AM)
117
definition of a mensch
What an eloquent, courageous, humane, sympathetic, intelligent, model for all humanity - really beautiful to listen to in every way - kol hakavod!!
(7/16/2013 11:38:20 AM)
118
A liight from the darkness
It has been said that bad things happen when good people are indifferent to and do not speak out against evil.Here is a true ben Avraham who is courageous enough to speak the truth. This is where the healing begins...Thank you and bless you.
(7/18/2013 10:11:31 AM)
119
MurrayF
This story should be told in every school, and houses of worship. I was glued to the computer.
(7/18/2013 4:06:28 PM)
120
r58black
I appreciate much of what he said. However, I think his closing remarks would have been more precise if he had clarified that hate against any group of people based on their religion, ethnicity, gender and/or sexual preference is wrong. However, hate against groups of individuals whose behavior can be distinctly termed subhuman....for instance, bullies....is not blind hate but justifiable outrage. I hate Nazi's. This hate does not consume me but rather reaffirms my commitment to fighting them....killing them, if necessary.....for I know what they have done....I know what they do. Peaceful coexistence works only when one coexists with humans, not subhumans. Dr Bernd Wollschlaeger is apparently a good human being. His father, forget about it. But no one can choose their parents. I admire the good doctor for his moral compass and journey. But in so being humbled by a moral journey of abreaction one must not forget that there are times in history which call for action and intensity to defeat the evil that surrounds us. Evil usually does not respond to reason alone unfortunately. One must not confuse applied outrage with blind hate when dealing directly and effectively with evil.
(7/30/2013 4:10:08 AM)
121
To 110
By any chance did you know Shalom Plawner ? He was my uncle and went from Italy to Israel and served in the Hagana
(8/13/2013 4:37:12 PM)
122
Hate ended
Not long after WW2 the Germans in West Germany who were able to take power tried to turn over and repent. Its been done before when HaShem sent the Prophet Yona to Nineveh which was the most wicked nation on earth and they all repented.
Germany united became a very moral nation and connected deeply the Jews. HELPERS of the Nazis who were not forced into the army as Germans were like the Hungarians ,Urainians,Latvians,Estonians did their own killing out of pure hate killing many Jews who survived the war and came back to their homes. Many of hem remain anti-semetic but here in Israel we appreciate the vast changes that the Germans made for world peace.
(9/8/2013 10:57:00 PM)
123
Amazing story !!!!
This amazing story shoild, must be distributed to all intelectuals regardles of religion, race, and skin colour !!!
(11/10/2013 2:57:00 AM)
124
in response to 14 & 15
I doubt that Dov ben Avraham will have trouble finding a shidduch. He's bold & dynamic. I would accept being set up with him in a NY minute.
(11/25/2013 7:00:08 PM)
125
In response to 124
I too, seriously doubt that Dov ben Avraham even needs shadchanim. He might not have "yichus", in the traditional sense, but he is bold and dynamic and committed to Judaism, Israel, and tikkun olam. He's a marvelous addition to the Jewish people. I would accept being set up with him or a guy like him. Shoshana-Dvora
(12/4/2013 6:22:27 PM)
126
FANTASTIC STORY
ONLY A JEW WILL GIVE HIM SYMPATHY, BUT AM PROUD OF HIM.THE STORIE IS A MASSING IT MAKE ME CRY,AM JEW LOST ALL MY FAMILY,AM A SURVIVE
(12/31/2013 1:33:16 PM)
127
He wrote a book-incredible read
“A German Life – Against All Odds, Change is Possible” by Bernd Wollschlaeger – Book Recommendation
(1/25/2014 1:00:53 PM)
128
Light over Darkness
This holy Jew is a testimony to the distant sparks of G-Dliness in the world that can be elevated! NO ONE should judge this man by his father's past, this man did nothing wrong! Anyone here saying "only a Jew would give him sympathy" — you make my heart ache. His father was a nazi...he wasn't. He broke through the darkest of klipot — what a beautiful soul! For those who speak about issues of shidduchim, the doctor doesn't need a shidduch, he is married! And I'm sure he had no problem finding a wonderful shidduch because he is a strong, bright neshama! May he and his family be blessed with only revealed good now and always, b'gashmius u'b'ruchnius! Moshiach now!
(7/15/2014 4:06:04 PM)
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