LUDWIG STADLER’S STORY

THE ALMOST FORGOTTEN RIGHTEOUS GENTILE

There was a Christian hero on the Lowenthal side of my family’s history. They were German Jews for centuries. By 1938, my maternal grandfather, Julius Lowenthal, had lost his job, family, citizenship, and human rights in the city of Munich. After Kristallnacht, he was a fugitive from "justice," although he had served the German army with distinction in the First World War. There was a man named Ludwig Stadler, who gave sanctuary in his home, at great risk to his family, to his good friend and neighbor. His Jewishness was never an issue for this friend. Knowing he would put at risk the life of this righteous gentile and his family members, my grandfather turned himself in to the Gestapo in 1943. He found himself in Theresienstadt, the so-called "model camp." Ludwig Stadler at great risk to himself and with much ingenuity sent food packages to my grandfather and several fellow prisoners. That noble gesture undoubtedly saved their lives. After liberation, Mr. Stadler took his friend into his home and nursed him back to health. Julius Lowenthal died in 1947. Mr. Stadler, who owned a textile factory, survived him by twenty-five years, never forgetting his comrade. My mother told me he was a very merry soul who liked to party. I see a different side to this pleasure-loving man. He is a hero who can be defined by Kant’s moral conception of the good will. Ludwig Stadler’s name is not recorded in Yad Vashem, but nonetheless he will be memorialized by the account in this website.

Saving one life is like saving humanity; saving several lives is like bringing heaven to earth. As long as we remember and pay homage to the righteous of all denominations and creeds, life will not have been lived in vain.

May all these gentle souls rest in peace.