January 31 – 2022

During the week covered by this review, we received 8 articles on the following subjects:


Christians and the Holocaust

Israeli/Jewish Attitudes Concerning Christians/Christianity


Christians and the Holocaust

Yom L’Yom, January 20, 2022

This article told the heart-warming story of the Gottschalk family from Nahariya, Israel. The father, Günter Gottschalk, was born during World War II to a Protestant family in Germany. Growing up with the bible, he felt a connection to the Jewish people. Witnessing the horrible crimes that were committed against the Jews by his own people, he decided to leave everything behind, join a Christian charity organization, and in 1963 he came to Israel with his wife, to help the young nation. The organization founded an institute for mentally disabled youth, and a sanatorium for victims of concentration camps, among other things. After leaving the organization in 1972, Günter founded his own organization for helping needy children, and established strong ties with other Christians who loved Israel, encouraging them to help as well. The Gottschalk children were educated in Jewish school, strengthening the bond with the Jewish people, while maintaining their identity as German Protestants. Günter passed away in 2019, leaving behind a legacy of love for and a commitment to the Jewish people. “Everyone heard about the Holocaust, and many Germans were appalled by the [Nazis’] deeds,” said David Gottschalk, Günter’s son, “but father didn’t just hear, he got up and did something about it. He left his homeland, his family, the regular job that he had, and immigrated to Israel, just like Jethro, without being promised a future.”


Yedioth Ahronoth, January 26, 2022

A few days before the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a campaign was launched to fight the growing apathy in the world towards the atrocities that were committed in Europe       during the Holocaust. Among the participants were dozens of non-Jews who heroically saved Jews during that time, and received the title of “Righteous Among the Nations”. The campaign also praised their heroism, for not just standing by, but for risking lives and families for the sake of their Jewish neighbors and friends. As part of the campaign, the stories of the survivors and their rescuers were documented. One of the people to give a testimony was former Supreme Court President, Aharon Barak, who was smuggled out of the Ghetto in a laundry bag along with his mother, when he was 8 years old. They found shelter with a family of poor farmers, Jonas, Una and their four children, and lived with them until the war ended. Years later, recalled Barak, he met with the children and asked them why their parents took such a great risk helping them. “We are devout Christians”, they replied, “and our religion teaches us that under such circumstances we must help as much as we can.” I asked myself and my own family, concluded Barak, if we would have acted the same way under similar circumstances, but I received no answer, not even from myself.


Maariv, January 27, 2022; Shacharit, January 28, 2022

The growing anti-Semitism in Europe and in the United States has made the work of international organizations laboring to commemorate the Holocaust more complex. In this article, some of the leaders of these organization told of their struggle against Holocaust denial and other forms of anti-Semitism. One of these leaders was Heinz Reuss, the international director of “March of Life”, a German organization founded by the descendants of Nazis, which organizes marches in cooperation with Christians from different churches and denominations, as well as many Jewish communities. “My grandfather lived in Vienna, and was a Christian,” said Reuss, “and although he didn’t support Hitler, I understood from reading his diaries that he was one of those who kept silent and preferred not to help the Jews.” Reuss explained how, in his opinion, it was the indifferent silence of the majority that made the Holocaust possible. The purpose of the organization, explained Reuss, is to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, to make sure it never happens again.


Matzav HaRuach, January 27, 2022

A special ceremony was held in the Holocaust Museum in Paris, on the eightieth anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, in which the Third Reich decided on the “Final Solution”. Among the participants were Holocaust survivors, the Chief Rabbi of France, Jewish community leaders, and church leaders. The speakers expressed the need to work together to fight anti-Semitism and eradicate it.


Israeli/Jewish Attitudes Concerning Christians/Christianity

HaShavua BeHolon-Bat Yam, January 27, 2022; HaShavua BeFetach-Tikva, January 27, 2022; HaShavua BeRehovot, January 27, 2022

As reported in our last review, Yad L’Achim hosted a meeting with a guest speaker, Yaakov Wechsler, a Jew born in Poland during World War II. When Wechsler was a few months old, his mother handed him over to a Christian family before she was sent to the gas chambers. According to the articles, Wechsler grew up to become a priest, but after discovering he was Jewish at the age of 35, he decided “to abandon his work as a priest and come to the Holy Land”. Wechsler spoke in front of nearly 100 Yad L’Achim activists, and reportedly encouraged them to continue their efforts on behalf of Jews like him who somehow ended up in Christianity, “so they don’t have to make this way home for their soul, alone.”