Toronto Holocaust historian uncovers brilliant ploy that spared lives of Jews

Historians in the News
tags: Holocaust

An Orthodox Jewish wife and her husband crafted a brilliant ploy to con Nazi SS Chief Heinrich Himmler into ending the monstrous Final Solution program early, saving as many as 300,000 lives, Toronto-based Holocaust historian Max Wallace says in his new book.

Wallace, author of In the Name of Humanity — just released by Random House Canada — said that while working for Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation, he came across the remarkable story of Recha and Isaac Sternbuch.

The pair concocted an ingenious plan to convince Himmler that peace was possible with the Allies if he immediately halted the killings in concentration camps.

In an interview Tuesday, Wallace said that as a result Himmler issued a decree prohibiting “the further killing of Jews” six months before VE Day in May, 1945.

How did you uncover this amazing story?

“There’s actually a Toronto angle to the story. I was living in Montreal and interviewing Holocaust survivors for Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation in the late ’90s, and I heard about a survivor living in Toronto with a very different story to tell. His name was Hermann Landau. He was basically the last living eyewitness to this incredible story. He was the secretary of a Swiss-based rescue organization during the war headed by an ultra-Orthodox woman, Recha Sternbuchand, and her husband, Isaac. That was more than 15 years ago. That set me off on this historical trail that culminated in these discoveries.” ...

Read entire article at Toronto Sun

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