26 January 2018

Published January 24, 2018 by rochellewisoff

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Saturday, January 27th is the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The following story is one that I discovered a few years back and never ceases to fascinate me. 

Genre: Realistic Fiction based on a True Story

Word Count: 100

RENOVATION

As he did every morning, Dov Ben Avraham recited the Sh’ma, “Hear O, Yisrael, Adonai is our Lord, Adonai is one.” The Hebrew words from Deuteronomy 6 were sweet to his tongue and uplifting to his heart. After saying his final amen, he added, “Thank you for making me a Jew.”

Later that night, at the synagogue he prepared to tell his story at a memorial dinner to honor those who perished at Auschwitz.

Gazing at a few survivors among the guests, Dov, Dr. Bernd Wollschlaeger, said, “Please forgive me for the sins of my father, a Nazi tank commander.”

 

 Bernd Wollschlaeger, M.D.

 

To see an interview with Dr. Wollschlaeger CLICK HERE

114 comments on “26 January 2018

  • I can never think what to say about a true story like this. Thank you, though, for bringing it into my consciousness. My grandchildren’s school (non-demoninational) will mark 27 January with a special assembly, so sweet young voices can be heard practising Shalom, Shalom as preparations are made.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear JS,

      I love it that your grandchildren’s school is marking the day. I fear, with all of the Holocaust deniers out there and the last survivors leaving us, we will soon forget.

      This man’s story captured my interest a few years back. So many of the Nazi’s descendants carry the guilt of their parents and grandparents. This man took it to a new level and took the time to know the people his father persecuted. Not only know them, but become one of them. Thank you for reading and leaving such a nice comment.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 4 people

      • You’re very welcome Rochelle.

        Sadly the Holocaust deniers are still out there. I don’t know whether David Irving, a Holocaust-denying historian, gained attention in America before or after his own unsuccessful libel action in the UK (in 1996) led to him being recognised as an anti-Semitic racist. It looked as though his career had been brought to an end, but he’s now boasting that he’s inspiring a new generation of Holocaust “sceptics”. He claims to be receiving hundreds of supportive emails each day and to be getting huge donations from supporters, alongside the royalties that are coming in again from his vile books. The libel trial is dealt with in the 2017 film Denial. Many of the comments on the film, from supposedly ordinary viewers, make depressing reading, e.g. “I wasn’t a Holocaust denier before I saw this film, but I became one”.

        Sorry to sound so pessimistic.

        Like

  • Great story.
    Sad that some have to live with the burden of such guilt.
    Wish everyone in the world is a nice human, then we’ll have a better world where there is no war/terrorism & thus no apology for the same….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh,

      I personally know a Nazi’s granddaughter. A beautiful woman who makes a full time occupation of apologizing. We’ve hugged and cried together. Tragic that the sins of the fathers are visited on generations to come. I love the way Dr. W. has overcome. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Forgiveness, I fear, is one of the hardest traits to have, yet one of the most valuable.. It can destroy barriers that keep us from becoming a brotherhood of humans, loving and accepting one another. Well done and informative story.

    Liked by 1 person

  • It might be a terrible thought, but when I read things like this about the handful of ‘righteous’, yes, I feel choked up about their heroism/generosity but I also can’t help thinking, so what about the rest of them? To be afraid to step out of line at the time is excusable, to continue to deny the horror now, when nobody is going to shoot you for it, is something totally different.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    Once again, you have brought forth a little known hero (to most of us) in a wonderful way.

    The thing I find hardest in these situations is that the children even have to apologize for the actions of their parents or grand-parents. It is not their burden to carry – unless of course, they followed in their footsteps! I know, I know, human nature will blame the offspring – not fair.

    I admire his courage.

    Lotsa love,

    Dale

    Liked by 2 people

  • Dear Rosie “The Word Riveter” W(T)F,

    You really nailed this one. What a riveting read!
    Thanks for quoting me. Here’s another of my more profound statements for future use, “My nouns and verbs don’t aways agree. Fistfights have been known to break out in mid-sentence.”

    Adios,
    Daniel “Groucho” Wordslinger

    Liked by 2 people

  • This is fascinating, Rochelle and thank you for the link to the interview. It’s so moving to hear the doctor describe his gradual realisation that his father was not the hero he had believed him to be as a child; so eerie to imagine a man still so enamoured with the National Socialists that he wore his Iron Cross at Christmas. For the doctor to have gone from this first state to converting to Judaism is the kind of story that you would think unbelievable if you read it in a novel.
    A wonderfully written tale based on extraordinary facts.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Oh, the assigned picture just looks so durn familiar to me, like I’ve been there before… A generation seeks repentance for the sins of their parents… such a sad testament, eh. Great story as always.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Indeed, they are. Just as “white” men are the victims of American History. It is a vicious cycle. I pray for the day when that cycle is broken and we can all live in peace. 🙂 I’ve seen that day, at least a glimpse of it, so I know whereof I speak.

        Liked by 1 person

  • A poignant and powerful story, Rochelle! Thank you for the reminder of the remembrance of the liberation of Auschwitz. The world needs to be continually reminded of these atrocities of the past in an effort to not allow them occurring in the future.

    Deuteronomy 33:29, “Happy are you, Isra’el! Who is like you, a people saved by Adonai…”

    Liked by 2 people

  • This is quite a tale, Rochelle. I, too, appreciate these brief personal glimpses.

    Of course the motive for converting to any faith shouldn’t be guilt. I don’t think anyone can atone for sins of the ancestors; we need to rather deal with our own. 😐
    Hopefully this man had embraced not just the religion, but the God of Abraham & Moses.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Christine,

      I think, perhaps, his initial motives for connecting with the remnant of the Jewish community in his town were curiosity and guilt. But the events leading to his conversion don’t say guilt to me. I have the same hope. 😉 Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Patrick,

      I’ll not stop it. 😉 From what I can tell, Dr. Wollschlaeger has been accepted by the Jewish community. In fact his kids didn’t know his background until his son was in his teens and asked who his grandfather was. In any event the good doctor spent 7 years in the conversion process.
      I do feel like the descendants of the Nazis are as much victims as the survivors. Sad.
      Thank you and Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

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