Bi-Co Jews for Inclusion Statement on Tri-Co Chabad Event Speaker

We are saddened by Tri-Co Chabad’s framing choice for its upcoming lecture, “My Father Was a Nazi—I am a Jew.” The event description reads that Dr. Wollschlaeger “will share his story of the struggle growing up in Germany in the shadow of his father, a highly-decorated WWII tank commander and Nazi officer.” Dr. Wollschlaeger “eventually converted to Judaism, emigrated to Israel and served in the Israel Defense Forces as a medical officer.” We are disturbed by the way this description positions IDF service as something that is both the opposite of and the antidote to Nazism. The IDF has continuously violated the human rights of Palestinians, defended illegal settlements in Occupied Palestinian territories, and forcefully displaced Palestinians from their homes continuously.

The Stories That Live program is an incredible opportunity for Tri Co students to connect with Holocaust survivors in the Philadelphia area and, as Holocaust survivors age, the Stories That Live mission is becoming increasingly urgent. However, Holocaust remembrance does not call on us to blindly support the State of Israel and its brutal Occupation. Rather, the rallying cry of “Never again” urges us to actively prevent violence against all Jews and all peoples, living out our belief that “Never again” means never again for anybody, anywhere.

We urge Tri-Co Chabad to reconsider its framing of this event. But, at the very least, we hope to remind everyone that IDF service and support for Israel does not “fix” the Nazi crimes of the past or the rising tides of fascism and anti-Semitism in the present.