The story behind the German Jewish war hero honored on both sides of the Atlantic, decades apart – CNN January 27, 2020

In recognition of International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2022.

I saw this on CNN several years ago – The story behind the German Jewish war hero honored on both sides of the Atlantic, decades apart: A lot more in the link, but cut down to keep it shorter. The article is still available. It was on this day that Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated in 1945.

(CNN)A Jewish shopkeeper standing proudly outside his store, a wry smile on his face and an Iron Cross pinned to his lapel.

Just a meter away is a Nazi guard.
It is an notorious image of the Nazi era, replicated in museums and institutions across Germany.
Until now little was known about the man photographed outside his Cologne bedding store on April 1, 1933 — the day the Nazis launched a boycott of Jewish businesses.
The boycott saw guards stand outside Jewish shops in a bid to deter customers from entering. Many stores were subsequently vandalized.
As many countries around the world commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day on Monday, the incredible story of one Jewish shopkeeper, whose defiant picture has been shown around the globe, has been uncovered by researchers at genealogy site MyHeritage.
His name was Richard Stern.
“You realize that he is wearing a fantasy uniform — he has never been to war, while the soldier in the picture is the Jewish German who is proudly showing his Iron Cross.
“The power is with the soldier from the First World War.”
The Iron Cross, once a military decoration, was considered a top honor in Germany during both world wars.
Stern’s fight against his oppressors went even further than this image. He would later receive another award for his outstanding military contribution — this time from the US army in World War II.


Richard Stern earned the prestigious Iron Cross for his distinguished service during World War I.


Two World War medals, given either side of the Atlantic
Records unearthed by MyHeritage show that Stern left Germany and arrived at Ellis Island, New York, aged 40 in May 1939 — just four months before war broke out. It stated that the first person he met up with in the US was his brother-in-law Ludwig Walker.


On October 13, 1942 — less than a year after America joined the war — Stern enlisted in the US army.
He was aged 43 and still not a citizen.
In 1944 Stern was awarded the Silver Star, which is the third-highest military combat decoration that can be awarded to a member of the US armed forces.

About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
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2 Responses to The story behind the German Jewish war hero honored on both sides of the Atlantic, decades apart – CNN January 27, 2020

  1. SLIMJIM says:

    Thanks for sharing this story

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought it was relevant although it was interesting when he was still in Germany as he won the Iron Cross and the Nazis couldn’t touch him. I thought it was a good move to cross the Atlantic as he could now fight the Nazis on a personal level.


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