Dr. Bern Wollschlaeger captivated community with his personal story of discovery and transformation

by | Feb 16, 2018 | Other News

More than 160 members of the community, including religious school students from Ohef Sholom Temple, Congregation Beth El, Temple Israel, and KBH attended a powerful and timely presentation by Dr. Bernd Wollschlaeger on Sunday morning, Jan 28 at Ohef Sholom.

Author of A German Life: Against All Odds. Change is Possible (2007), Wollschlaeger was a featured speaker at the Holocaust Commission’s summer educators’ conference, and was so popular that the commission wanted to give more people, including students, the opportunity to hear him.

Wollschlaeger, the son of a decorated WWII Nazi tank commander, told the story of his struggle and conflict with family, faith, and religion after discovering his father’s past and his role in the murderous legacy of the Holocaust. As a teen, Wollschlaeger turned against his unrepentant father and all that he stood for and began to learn about Judaism. He eventually converted to Judaism and moved to Israel where he served in the Israel Defense Forces. Later, he married and moved to the United States, where he now lives with his family.

The students were very moved by Wollschlaeger’s presentation, as evidenced by their keen interest, positive reactions, and relevant questions.

Chris Kraus, director of Family Learning at Ohef Sholom, says, “The children showed that our future as a community is bright.”

Wollschlaeger also presented his program in the afternoon at the Simon Family JCC for the community and BBYO teens.

The Holocaust Commission offers high quality programming and education to the community to promote its mission: Teaching Tolerance, Justice, and Moral Courage. Wollschlaeger’s willingness to share his story covers all three of these values, and the community was fortunate to have him speak again.

– Vivian Margulies