Dr. Bernd A. Wollschlaeger, the son of a German Nazi tank commander, shared the remarkable story of how he rebelled against his family, converted to Judaism and emigrated to Israel during an inspiring Aventura Marketing Council Chairman’s Roundtable luncheon hosted by Florida Advocates, a Private Law Firm.
AMC Chair Cliff Schulman of Weiss, Serota, Helfman welcomed business and community leaders gathered at the Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort along with attorneys J.D. Underwood, Aura Brooks and Jacky Marti, representing Russel Lazega, principal partner of Florida Advocates. Appreciation was also expressed to Dr. Amir Baron of Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center for arranging Wollschlaeger’s appearance.
The book, “A German Life,” chronicles Wollschlaeger’s struggles while growing up in Germany during the 1950’s in the shadow of his father, a Nazi officer, eventually converting to Judaism and becoming a medical officer in the Israel Defense Forces. He subsequently completed his residency training at Jackson Memorial Hospital, going on to serve as president of the Dade County Medical Association and honored as “Florida Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor of the Year” in 2012. Today, Dr. Wollschlaeger continues to help patients at the Aventura Family Health Practice – but perhaps his greatest reward is inspiring others to believe “against all odds, change is possible.”
“When my young son first asked me about his grandfather, I didn’t know how to explain that while his own father was Jewish, and an Israeli citizen who served in the army – on the other hand, his grandfather was a highlydecorated World War II Nazi tank commander. So then, ‘the secret’ came out and I started sharing my story.”
Wolleschaeger explained that despite initial denials from his family, he eventually learned the shocking truth about German history, his father and the Holocaust. As a teenager, he was introduced to a group of Israelis visiting Germany and was invited to travel to Israel, where he learned more about Judaism and began pursuing his goal to convert.
“By sharing my story, the shame and guilt was lifted off my shoulders,” Wollschlaeger said. “You have to step out of the shadows by recognizing mistakes, learning from the past and moving forward with lessons learned to change the world in a positive way. The actions of hatred can be countered by speaking up and making decisions based on conviction. Then, against all odds, change is possible – in a person, in a group, or even in a country – but it starts with individuals.”
Florida Advocates is a statewide litigation boutique with over 15 attorneys representing hundreds of medical providers and consumers with issues involving insurance and injuries. The firm’s team of specialists includes authors of the leading textbooks on Florida Workers’ Compensation law;
Florida insurance law; and general insurance law. For more information, phone: 855-FL-Advocates or visit fladvocates.com. To learn more about Dr. Bernd A. Wollschlaeger and his books including “A German Life,” visit bwollschlaeger.com.