Wednesday, June 13, 2018

So I Learned the Other Day I am Jewish, and that My Great-Grandfather (a Christian and Jew) Died at Auschwitz

So I learned recently from an aunt that my great-grandfather, who was half Jewish by race, but a Christian by faith (Lutheran), was murdered by Hitler's Nazi regime at Auschwitz for publicly protesting Hitler in the public square of his local village.

True story.  My mom is from Germany.

Six months after his arrest, my great-grandmother got a knock on her door.  The postman was delivering her a box.  When she opened it, there were ashes and a note that read "Your husband died of natural causes." 

He was middle-aged and in good health.  The note did not say what "natural cause" did him in at the same concentration camp where St. Maximilian Kolbe gave his life.   It was also at Auschwitz where some of my boyhood pastors managed to survive, later immigrating to the US (Broken Arrow, OK outside of Tulsa).  They were Polish Capuchins.  I'll never forget one Sunday after serving Mass for Fr. Robert Dabrowski, OFM, he showed us a tattoo on his forearm.  It was his number the Nazis gave him as a prisoner at Auschwitz.

So it turns out The Okie Traditionalist is a Jew!  Which is cool since Our Lord and Savior was a Jew too!  ;) Since my great-grandfather was 1/2 Jewish, my maternal grandmother 1/4th, and my mom 1/8th, then I am 1/16th Jewish!

I have to admit, this revelation about my great-grandfather made me later angry.  I am angry that Hitler killed millions of Jews.  The exact number doesn't matter.  The merits of nationalism for any country, including Germany, or any exaggeration of war crimes against the Jewish people, are irrelevant to the absolutely established historical fact that Adolf Hitler tried to use his power to wipe out the Jews.

So if you want to deny the holocaust in the comment section, then be warned I'll delete it.  

On the other hand, I am also angry when the mass murder at Nazi concentration camps is presented as just being about the Jews.  My great-grandfather had a racial and ethnic background as a Jew, but he was a Christian, as was his wife and children.

Like St. Maximilian, or Pope Pius XII, or Fr. Robert, it was people like my great-grandfather, at least heroes for God's just order, i.e. Christians, who defended the Jewish people.  



  1. Wow. Great story. So you're blood-connected to one of the two greats of the last century: Pio and Maximilian. For it would appear for sure and for certain that your great-granddad's a saint too, like St Franz Jaegermeister (sp?). I will raise a good glass of cold IPA for Father's Day to his name tomorrow!

    In corde Christi,

    Chris Benischek

  2. What's your grandad's name, so as the toast can follow the proper formalities. It'll be in the Lower Hudson Valley, some time tomorrow afternoon--we just might have a Polish priest--our pastor--in attendance as well.



    1. Good question. The name I use for the blog, Ostermeir,comes from my mom's dad, but the Jewish background comes from her mom's side.

  3. My greatest objection is the use of the word "holocaust". A holocaust is supposed to be an burnt offering of sacrifice, and since we know the jews of Europe did not willingly give themselves up and that such a sacrifice would never please God to begin with, who was it that offered this sacrifice? Ladies and Gentiles, I present you with the high priests of Satanic Talmudic False Israel: the Nazis. Nice to know you have the blood of David in you, but let's not get carried away into validating their massive self-deception. Take back the language first!