Imagine a German Jew who was a decorated German soldier in World War I, a resister in Cologne at the start of Hitler’s reign of terror, and a Silver Star decorated U.S. Army soldier. Three heroic actions, at three different times, in three different places. This is the story of Richard Stern, whose photograph of his protest hangs in multiple German museums, showing a rare Jewish protest in Nazi Germany.
Richard Stern’s history connected to the Holocaust is unique. Hear his story as told by his great-nephew, Rabbi W. Jack Romberg, as he tells his full story along with how the Shoah impacted his family.
About the Speaker:
W. Jack Romberg retired as the rabbi of Temple Israel in Tallahassee, FL in the summer of 2019. It was his second career. He intended to enter rabbinic school after graduating from University of Pittsburgh in 1976 with a BA in history focusing on Germany, but his father asked him to help in the family’s furniture manufacturing business. In 1995 he decided to pursue the lifelong dream to be a rabbi, entering Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1996, earning a master’s degree in 1999 and ordained in 2001. Before retiring, Rabbi Romberg decided to write the book on his great uncle Richard Stern, perhaps forming a third career.As a rabbi, Romberg was deeply involved in the general community, interfaith programs as well as non-partisan community issues. He did frequent opening blessings at the state legislature, the governor’s cabinet meetings, and county commission meetings. He wrote many editorials for the Tallahassee Democrat, the local newspaper. In 2008, he served on the paper’s editorial board as the chosen community person. Romberg led these organizations: The Interfaith Clergy Association, The Village Square, and the Tallahassee Equality Action Ministry, and was on the board of the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra for 15 years. For a special concert in 2017, that told the story of music performed by prisoners in the Theresienstadt ghetto during the Holocaust, he wrote the narrative, selected the music, and was a narrator in the concert. He was a frequent guest speaker on local TV discussion shows and a local NPR radio show. At the retirement gala celebrating his role in the city, the mayor presented him a key to the city.
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