Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on January 26th 2021
Wilhelm Edelmann, a Nazi, who in 1938 Germany risked his life to warn Benjamin and Emma Heidelberger, a Jewish couple, of impending danger.

Wilhelm Edelmann
Wilhelm Edelmann photo: cnn.com

The story is told by their granddaughter, Hanna Ehrenreich, an Israeli 83-year-old retired teacher, reading from her grandfather's journal.

(Story continues from "Read More")

The Nuremberg Laws of 1938, stripped German Jews of their citizenship and civil rights, and their property could be seized, and they beaten.

And it formalized the exclusion of Jews from being doctors, lawyers, authors, teachers or working in civil service.

They could still own shops but Germans were discouraged from shopping there.

The Heidelberger's Hardware store in Bad Mergentheim, Germany 1938
The Heidelberger's Hardware store in Bad Mergentheim, Germany 1938 photo: cnn.com

It was financially devasting and terrifying for Jewish people. In this atmosphere the Heidelbergers decided to sell their home and hardware store while they still could.

In 1937, the Heidelbergers sold their home to Mr. Edelmann at a fire sale price, and in 1938 did the same with their store and warehouse.

Benjamin and Emma Heidelberger
Benjamin and Emma Heidelberger photo: myheritage.com

In his journal, Mr. Heidelberger wrote of the buyer:

"My business successor, Wilhelm Edelmann, came every first of the month to pay the rent, and even though he was a member of the Nazi party, he was a decent man and not an anti-Semite."

Then came devastating news.

"One day, Edelmann came to me and said I should leave Germany as quickly as possible. There were plans in place to act against Jews and he felt obliged to warn me, his good acquaintance."

What came was Kristallnacht (November 9 - 10, 1938) in which synagogues and Jewish owned stores and homes across Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland were damaged or destroyed and looted.

Kristallnacht
Kristallnacht photo: timesofisrael.com

30,000 Jewish men were sent to concentration camps and thousands of Jewish people were assaulted and hundreds were murdered as authorities watched.

But before Kristallnacht, the Heidelbergers took Mr. Edelmann's warning and fled Germany for Palestine, where they joined other family members and made new lives for themselves.

Mr. Edelmann's warning had saved them.

Editor's Note:To learn more, click here, here and here.

Thank you to our son Dr. Clayton Kazan who shared this story with me.

A customer's remarkable generosity to a restaurant's staff during the pandemic.


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