It comes to light that the German Jewish community leader is not Jewish
The president of the small Jewish community in the city of Pinneberg in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein faces the accusation of Der Spiegel magazine that he is not Jewish and has deceived community members since 2003.
Spiegel reported in this week’s issue that Wolfgang Seibert invented his Jewish origins and is a Protestant whose family members fought for Nazi Germany in World War II against the allied powers.
Seibert will consult with his lawyer before issuing a public comment, adding that the statement that he plans to resign is false.
The Jewish community in Pinneberg, a city of more than 42,000 residents, has 250 members.
According to the German media, Seibert was born in 1947 as the son of Protestant parents, and was baptized three days later. The magazine wrote that their grandparents were also Protestants. However, the defendant claims that his grandmother, Anna Katharina Schmidt, whose birth name was Marx, survived Auschwitz.
Spiegel says he could not have had Jewish ancestors because Seibert’s grandfather on his father’s side was an officer in World War II and his father an infantryman for Hitler’s army. Seibert was previously convicted several times for fraud and embezzlement.
Seibert, according to the newspaper Die Welt, got media attention in 2014 when the Jewish community provided asylum to a Muslim refugee. The Jewish community of Pinneberg represents liberal Judaism and Seibert has defended Jewish-Christian dialogue over the years.
The case of Seibert’s alleged false Jewish identity is not the first time that non-Jewish Germans falsely represent their religious background. Over the years there have been several cases of Germans, who claimed to be Jews and attacked the Jewish state.
In 2016 the teacher Christoph Glanz, from the German state of Lower Saxony, advocated a complete boycott of Israel and posed as a Jew to sign a petition for all Palestinian refugees to be returned to the Jewish state.
In 2012, a non-Jewish German poet and anti-Israel activist acknowledged that he had invented his alleged service in the IDF during the First Lebanon War. “I said I was in the IDF,” but “it was a lie,” Irena Wachendorff, 51, said at the time. She has called pro-Israel activists “the neo-Nazi troop among the Jews,” and expressed support for Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
In 2010, Edith Lutz, a non-Jewish German who tried to break the Israeli naval blockade on Gaza aboard the catamaran Irene, falsely declared that she had converted to Judaism. Irene was nicknamed the “Jewish boat” and received widespread attention from the media due to the presence of a small number of Jews on board.