From Heil Hitler to Am Yisrael Chai: the Nazi who became a Jew

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From Heil Hitler to Am Yisrael Chai: the Nazi who became a Jew

Reformed neo-Nazi from Germany, Lutz Langer, left his far-right past behind him during a ten-year journey to Judaism

A reformed neo-Nazi from Germany called Lutz who once greeted friends with the phrase “Heil Hitler” has emerged as a kippah-wearing Jew called Yonatan after a ten-year journey via London and Kabbalah.

Lutz Langer, who praised SS soldiers and dreamed of destroying “Jewish domination” as per his belief that Jews secretly controlled the world, revealed his story last week in an interview with KAN Evening News.

The man, who now calls himself Yonatan, prays wearing tefillin and immerses himself in a freezing lake, said he was radicalised as a teenager by a Nazi-supporting karate instructor who played his young charges Nazi music.

His road to recovery began with Kabbalah ten years ago in Berlin. He decided to leave the city to distance himself from his past and moved to London, studying and worked at the local Kabbalah centre. He also started his conversion there and did the Brith Mila in London.

In a special interview with KAN’s Antonia Yamin, he showed her the videos he used to watch, include those urging “bombs on Israel,” explaining that the Nazi ideology saw Jews as “the ultimate enemy… to be completely destroyed”.

He also explained his former comrades’ views on the Holocaust, saying: “Some approach it scientifically, asking how long does it take for a body to burn in an oven, and how long would it take to burn six million Jews… in terms of time, it’s just impossible. Others just say that it was legitimate, that there was a law, there was a reason why they had to do it… I was one of those who thought it was alright.”

He said his recovery began when he dreamt of the word ‘Kabbalah’ and woke up to see what it meant. He later undertook a three-year conversion, including being circumcised 18 months ago.

Hezi Nathaniel, an Israeli living in Berlin, said Yonatan became his friend, adding: “I connected with him very quickly. I don’t judge him according to what he used to be.”

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