And he’s an Orthodox Jew too

Hitler's pissedHe’s not the only one either. Apparently there’s a subculture of hundreds of children of Nazis, the majority of whom have converted to Judaism, live as Orthodox Jews and reside in Israel. Jewish Action, the magazine of the Orthodox Union, reported on one Dr. Daniel Brown (name has been changed) who was described as a convert practicing Modern Orthodoxy, an Israeli immigrant, the chairman of the Jewish studies department at one of the country’s leading universities, and the grandson of Hitler’s nephew. Obviously, life in Israel for someone so closely related to Hitler has its ups and downs:

Brown has had his share of ugly run-ins himself. “I have always tried to be open and honest about my roots; I have never hidden my background like many converts from Nazi backgrounds,” he says. “Most of the time, people are accepting and tolerant. Once in a while, though, someone will say something offensive. Recently, after sharing some biographical details with my university students, one of them told me: ‘Imagine! Your grandfather might have turned my grandmother into soap.’”

Brown also discussed the scope and breadth of this unusual trend:

Brown guesstimates that there are approximately three hundred German converts in Israel, but most are averse to publicity and remain relentlessly reclusive. Still, as the Holocaust recedes into history, an increasing number of these converts are coming forward with their stories. Recent newspaper articles published in both Europe and Canada have detailed the extraordinary metamorphoses of people like Matthias Goering, great-nephew of the notorious Luftwaffe Chief Hermann Goering, who keeps kosher, celebrates Shabbat and wears a yarmulka; Katrin Himmler, great-niece of SS Commander Heinreich Himmler, who married an Israeli and Oskar Eder, a former member of the Luftwaffe who changed his name to Asher, married a Holocaust survivor and currently works in Israel as a tour guide. The astonishing trajectories of these personalities, and people very much like them, demonstrate for Brown the powerful message that “nothing is immutable. The meaning of my story, of my counterparts’ stories, is that things can be changed: You can change your behavior, your location, your faith. Being and becoming is what we are doing every day.”

Brown states that he came to Judaism from a place of pure intellect and not out of some desire to absolve himself of the sins of his relatives. He does however concede that “I believe that whoever is willing to take this step [conversion] must have a very deep identity crisis preceding the conversion itself. He’s not able to return to the identity that he was born into. I understood that I was not happy in the place where I was born, and I made a decision to go to another place.” Well, Dr. Brown has been living in Israel now for 25 years. This is so odd but whatever, Wilkommen!

And uh… sorry about the back to back Hitler posts. It was just a fluke. Also, I noticed that Dov Bear posted about this first so hat tip to him for being so up on OU publications. I have no idea how to illustrate this post either… (postscript: when all else fails, go to SouthPark for inspiration)

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • This is an odd story; when I went to see “Little Willy” (remember? the play about Hitler’s nephew?) they said at the end that Hitler’s nephews sons agreed never to have children, effectively making a “Hitler grandson” not possible. Unless there was another nephew.

    But yes, there are lots of grandchildren of Nazi perpetrators who have engaged in a process of teshuvah of sorts for what their forebears did. Some are even involved in dialogue with children of Holocaust survivors, or at least were five years ago when I wrote an article about them for JTS Magazine…sadly, looks like the minimal web presence for the organizing foundation indicates it’s closed now, or at least is transitioning into reconciliation strategies to be applied in the Middle East conflict.

    Still, interesting post. And wonderful illustration.

  • Looks like he is not blood related to Hitler if Hitler’s brother was his STEP-grandfather (Sounds like he is from his grandmother’s first marriage).

    Still, his daddy was a dedicated Nazi, his mommy served in the German Army (although she showed remorse and supported him becoming a Jew), his granny was a proud Nazi and step grand daddy was Hitler’s brother so he is certainly … well connected.

  • And those race traitors need to be shot and fed to the pigs !

  • I don’t think this story is true. If you look up “Hitler’s nephews” on Yahoo, you will find that the nephews were rather young to be grandfathers.

    I hope it’s not true.

    • sorry paul, i hate to break it to you buddy but it’s true and it’s also a beautiful thing!