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Lecture by Dr. Mendel King

Peter Bailey, Telfed Event's Chairman, introduces guest lecturer Dr. Mendel King 

Well-known for their precision, information about Jewish soldiers in the German army in the Second World War was meticulously recorded over the years. In a fascinating address ahead of Yom Hashoah, Dr. Mendel King delved into this difficult subject in a lecture held at Beth Protea on Sunday 28 April.

Patriotic to Germany, the 150 000 Jewish soldiers served in various roles in the Wehrmacht. They were granted special Aryan status in exchange for a pledge of loyalty to Hitler. The army itself was not anti-Semitic and, according to Dr. King, over 80 percent of those serving in the army were opposed to Hitler’s ideology and the subsequent murder of 6 million Jews.

Dr. King spoke of resistance to sharing this information with the public but it remains a part of history that cannot be censored. The audience heard stories of individual soldiers who brought shame to their families resulting in suicides; soldiers who were awarded medals of bravery by the most notorious of Hitler’s accomplices; soldiers who exposed themselves to enemy fire.

According to Dr. King, after the war, the Chief Rabbi of Frankfurt exonerated all Jews who had served in the Germany army, with the notable exception of those who served in the SS and Gestapo. For those interested in further exploring this subject, Dr. King spoke of researcher and writer, Bryan Mark Rigg’s book on this topic – “Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military”.

 

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