14 December 1913 Birth of Heinrich Pollack, Holocaust survivor and Hebrew Christian Pioneer in Israel

From the memorial page on facebook

Heinrich Günther Israel Pollack.
Born 13 Dec 1913 in Berlin. Died 01 Sep 2012 in Israel.

Lived through 2 World Wars. Escaped the nazi persecution and came to Sweden 1939. Joined the Salvation Army, married and had children. Made aliyah in 1970, but his wife and children didn’t follow. Remarried in Israel. Lived through the war of 1973. Was tricked by a deceiving “schelm”. Retired. Moved to Ebenezer old age home. Sat at his wife’s side when she was on her deathbed. Wrote a book on his life.

Died at an old age, and satisfied with life. He is happy now. He is Home, where he wanted to be.

The account in Evangelisch getauft – als »Juden« verfolgt: Theologen jüdischer Herkunft in der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus. Ein Gedenkbuch (Baptized as Evangelical – Persecuted as “Jews”: Theologians of Jewish Origin in the Nazi Period. A memorial book) – by Hartmut Ludwig (Editor), Eberhard Röhm (Editor) gives more detail:

Heinrich Pollack * December 14, 1913 in Berlin, † September 1, 2012 in Haifa (Israel);  married.  with Gullam, née  Rooth;  three children;  1973 second marriage with Gabriela, b.  Goldberg (1918-2002).  Baptized in 1921;  1933 high school diploma;  various activities;  Member of the Paulusbund;  Mitarbeit in the Confessing Church in Berlin;  1939 emigration via England to Sweden.  1939–1940 studied theology in Lund;  Tutor;  1941-1971 Heilsarmea in Lund, Stockholm and Germany;  1971–1980 collaboration in the Center for Biological Distribution on the Mount of Olives (Israel);  1980 retirement. 

Heinrich’s parents, Walter Pollack and his wife Ida, were assimilated liberal Jews who no longer practiced the Jewish religion.  The father was a lawyer and died in 1915. Heinrich’s upbringing and education was the sole responsibility of his mother.  They had a warm and loving relationship.  Heinrich heard something about Jesus for the first time from their Christian housemaid.  When he started school in 1920, he was allowed to take part in Christian religious education. 

A year later he took baptism classes and was baptized in Potsdam on June 29, 1921.  He had to promise his mother never to hate the Jews and not to tell his grandmother.  But she had noticed and told him to read the New Testament and have great respect for Jesus.  In March 1930 he was confirmed in Berlin-Friedenau.  The economic crisis forced him and his mother to move to Steglitz in 1932.  On March 18, 1933, he graduated from high school.. 

During the political upheaval of 1933, he experienced being rejected as a Jew from the voluntary labor service.  He realized that he would not be able to study theology at university.  Training as a deacon and at the Gossner Mission was also closed to him.  He became a bookshop assistant until this was banned in the summer of 1934.  He worked as an employee in a Jewish liquor factory until the beginning of 1939. As a member of the confessional church community in Berlin-Dahlem, he had regularly participated in Martin Niemöller’s services and “catechism evenings” since September 1934. 

In 1935 he joined the Confessing Church Community of the Markuskirche in Steglitz.  He distributed banned pamphlets, collected donations, and distributed morning papers.  In 1937 he took part in “Church Teaching Courses” in which lay people were trained to serve in the Church.  During the 1929 summer holidays, which he almost always spent with his mother on the Baltic Sea, he met a Swedish girl, Elisabeth.

After the pogrom in November 1938, Elisabeth’s friend Margit came to Berlin to help him come to Sweden and study theology.  Pollack wrote to the Swedish king for admission.  By surprise, at Christmas 1938, Rev. C. Griffiths invited him to come to England.  It is not known how his name appeared on the list of “non-Aryan” pastors for whom Bishop George Bell provided the guarantee.  He went to the “Pastor Grüber’s Office” in Berlin, ran from authority to authority and left Berlin on February 28, 1939.  From March to mid-July 1939 Pollack was a guest of the community of St Leonards-on-Sea.  He met Franz Hildebrandt, whom he knew from Dahlem, Fritz Winckelmann and Wilhelm Deutschhausen, other Jewish Christians who had come to England through Bishop Bell’s initiative. 

He studied with Erich Winckelmann for some time at the Methodist Handsworth College in Birmingham.  Surprisingly, Pollack was given permission to come to Sweden to study theology.  He arrived in Lund on August 1, 1939.  The studies here were structured somewhat differently than in Germany.  Without instructions, he was overwhelmed and failed the test in spring 1940.  For financial reasons he had to work as a private tutor, founded a German study group and now mainly listened to lectures. 

His financial situation became more difficult.  In this hopeless situation, an inner voice “directed him to the Salvation Army.  At the end of 1942 he joined her, going through all stages of training from soldier to officer.  In August 1948, he became head of a corps.  From 1952 to 1958 he worked as an editor in the literature department of the headquarters of the Salvation Army in Stockholm.  Although he had vowed never to set foot on German soil again, he accepted the call to rebuild the Salvation Army in Germany.  From 1958 to 1964 he was editor in Herne and Cologne. 

When he returned to Swedish headquarters, he headed the tracing service for missing persons.  From May 1965 he was again in the literature department as editor of the magazine “Light in the dark”.  Even before the time in Germany he came into contact with the “Society of Friends of the Jews”.  Upon his return, he became more and more involved with the history and religion of Israel.  In his memoirs he wrote: “I understood that Israel is my people and that I have an obligation to tell my people about his Messiah” (p. 305).  In 1970 he accompanied a group of Swedes to Israel.  A dream came true when, in January 1971, he began as administrator of the Bible Center on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, informing visitors about the work of the centre.  Pollack was one of the early Messianic Jews and worked for the reconciliation of Jews and Christians.  For many years he was associated with Shalom Ben-Chorin and visited his reform synagogue.  (Hartmut Ludwig 274-275)

Heinz passed away in Ebenezer home in Haifa in 2012 – a much loved and respected figure in the Israeli Messianic community. His family continues to have significant leadership and influence in Israel and around the world.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for this servant of yours – the faith you gave him, the trials he went through, the ministry he exercised, and the legacy he left. May his name and memory continue to be a blessing to Israel, the Messianic community, and all nations. In Yeshua the Messiah’s name we pray. Amen

About richardsh

Messianic Jewish teacher in UK
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