Holocaust Survivor Decries Hamas' 'Cruelty', Reveals How Hitler's Terror Upended Entire Life
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Eighty years after diabolical German leader Adolf Hitler went on a reign of terror, killing millions of Jewish men, women, and children, the stories of pain, horror, loss, and tragedy continue to reverberate.
Listen to them on the latest episode of “Quick Start."
Victims like Jochen “Jack” Wurfl educate today’s generations about what unfolded, with his new book, “My Two Lives,” released just weeks before Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel.
Wurfl opened up in an interview with CBN News about the traumatic events he experienced during World War II as his mother, who was Jewish, and father, a Catholic, both lost their lives during the Holocaust.
“I remember back to my age 4 and I lived with my parents in Austria,” he said, noting his father worked in government and knew Hitler’s annexation would soon come. “My parents decided that, at that point, it would be safer for me to be in Berlin, where my grandparents lived, than to stay in Austria.”
Wurfl and his brother, Peter, were sent away to keep them safe. Another factor allowing the children to blend in and escape Hitler’s wrath was their mixed background.
“My parents decided very wisely to have us baptized Catholic, and that helped us all along because every time someone asked us, or we had to complete some papers or something, instead of saying ‘Jewish,’ we could say, ‘Catholic,'” he said. “So, that was a big help at that time.”
Watch him tell his harrowing story:
Wurfl started school in Berlin when he was just 6 years old, recalling how he and the other students had to go into the school’s backyard and learn how to march and sing Hitler’s praises — something they wanted no part of but were forced to do.
“We had to learn how to march and how to say, ‘Hail, Hitler!'” he said, “When we were a couple years older than that, we were actually beginning to be taught by the Hitler Youth … to use certain weapons such as bazookas and grenades and that type of thing. We were just kids.”
Wurfl said he and his brother were young but knew they were hiding out under the guise of their Catholic identity. They also knew the costs were quite high.
“People were disappearing,” he said. “Our neighbors were all of a sudden gone; friends were all of a sudden gone. So, we asked, and we were told what was going on.”
Wurfl and his family soon faced the unthinkable, as his father was arrested and sent to a concentration camp. Eventually, his mother, too, met the same fate.
“My mother was taken a little later … we were about 10 years old,” he said, noting how he and his brother saw police at their mom’s home and hid, until later realizing that the SS officers were there to take their mother.
Wurfl and Peter spent the next few days trying to find where the Nazis were keeping her. The children were somehow able to get inside the jail and speak to their mother — a heartbreaking final conversation between the trio.
“We finally got to see her and got to talk to her very, very briefly,” Wurfl said. “She simply told us, ‘Be good boys, be good at school, learn — that’s the most important thing, [and] pay attention to what you’re doing in school I love you. I know you love me, but you go now, because, if you don’t go — if you stay here with me — you’re going to be arrested too.'”
The kids were indeed almost arrested, but Wurfl said they were able to get away from the guards. Sadly, their mother later died in a concentration camp.
The boys’ survival depended in many ways on playing along with the horror unfolding and being helped by kind strangers. The two went to a summer camp in Northern Germany when they were very young. Some of the people there knew their Jewish identity but helped conceal it to protect them.
“[One woman] kept us in spite of having her own children, so she was also very much in danger,” Wurfl said, noting there was also another man who risked much to help. “Our teacher was in the SS [and] he taught us in the mornings, and, at 1 o’clock, when the school was over, he gathered to his black uniform, got on his motorcycle, and drove off every day to his SS meetings.”
Despite his Nazi alliance, the teacher was kind and helped the brothers, who spent years going back to the summer camp.
In “My Two Lives,” the Holocaust survivor recounts his ability to evade the camps before later moving to Europe and then the United States, where he found success and built a family. He said he wrote the book mainly to offer his family a historical account of what unfolded.
The story is so harrowing, though, that many others are now reading the book and hearing Wurfl’s story in the media. It’s particularly pertinent as the Israel-Hamas war continues to rage and anti-Semitism grows.
“It’s very disturbing,” he said of Hamas’ violence and rising anti-Jewish sentiment. “It was very, very surprising how they went about it in such cruelty.”
Watch the video for his full commentary on the matter.
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