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The Baffling Transformation of an Anti-Semite Who Became a Jew and Moved to Israel

German Lutz Langer once dreamed of destroying “Jewish domination” and praised the SS who during WW2 killed millions of Jews, but after a mind-blowing 10-year transformation, he now lives in Israel as a kippah-wearing Jew called Yonatan.

Born in Berlin to Christian parents, Lutz Langer spent ten years as the member of a German Neo-Nazi group. He used to worship Hitler or Himler, listen to Neo-Nazi music and hate on Jews, whom he considered “the ultimate enemy, to be completely destroyed”. He and his anti-Semite friends used to either dispute the existence of the Holocaust or simply justify it as something necessary. He himself admits that there was a time when he thought the extermination of the Jews was “alright”. But not anymore; after a 10-year conversion process, Langer is now a model Jew and living proof that anyone can change.

Lutz Langer was converted to Neo-Nazism when he was just 12-years-old, by his karate instructor. It all started with forbidden music, which was provocative for him and his young friends. It wasn’t something you could find in a music store, you had to know the right people, make copies and listen to in very private settings. Their instructor would invite them to his home and discuss the Holocaust over beer. Before he knew it, he was cutting his hair short, dressing up in black leather, doing the Nazi salute and interacting with all kinds of far-right extremists.

Photo: MabelAmber/Pixabay

“Our group was called Vigrid, after a place mentioned in German mythology. We had a space and a table where we all sat in leather suits surrounded by torches,” Langer recently said in an interview. “We had access to weapons and considered carrying out attacks, but we considered the consequences and we decided not to do it.”

The reformed Neo-Nazi recalls that his hatred for Jews ran so deep that he didn’t watch Hollywood movies, never ate at McDonald’s or drank Coca Cola, simply because they were either co-owned or ran by Jews. But it was this self-imposed embargo that eventually caused a change in the way he thought. As he interacted with people outside his Neo-Nazi group, Lutz found it increasingly harder to explain why he didn’t watch certain films, refused to eat at certain restaurants, or why he didn’t have any black or immigrant friends.

But what pushed this once fervent Neo-Nazi over the edge towards change was a dream. One night, during a period of time when he was confused about how he truly felt, Langer dreamed that he was standing in a warm cave, when the word “Kabbalah” appeared on the wall. He woke up and went straight to the computer to google the mysterious word. That’s how he discovered the Kabbalah Center in Berlin and the teacher who would change his life.

 

Born in Israel to Holocaust survivors, Lutz Langer’s Kabbalah teacher welcomed him with open arms even after hearing about his past. After a few visits to the center, Lutz was invited to the teacher’s home for an intimate shabbat dinner which he recalls as a turning point.

When he met with his Neo-Nazi friends after the shabbat dinner, Lutz finally realized it was time to distance himself from the hate and discover the culture he had vowed to destroy. He moved to London where he became deeply involved in the Kabbalah, and two years ago completed his conversion to Judaism after undergoing the traditional circumcision and changing his name to Yonatan.

“Hitler, Himmler, Hess—they were heroes to me, war heroes,” Yonatan Langer recalls. “It’s actually quite simple to convert extreme right-wingers, or radical Islamists. You just need to allow them to take part in life, and extremism is solved by itself.”

 

Earlier this year, Yonatan received a proposal to work at the Tel Aviv Kabbalah Center, and he now lives in the Israeli city. He wears wears a traditional kipa, prays three times a day and refrains from intercourse until he gets married. Still, getting over his past is still very difficult.

Even though he has been welcomed with open arms, Yonatan Langer claims that opening up and changing his radical opinions is still very hard. Even though he left his old Neo-Nazi group over ten years ago, it was only last year that he was finally able to condemn the Holocaust.

Interestingly, Yonatan Lutz Langer is not the only famous case of a fervent anti-Semite who converted to Judaism.  Csanad Szegedi, the deputy leader of a radical political party in Hungary and a self-described anti-Semite, discovered that his own grandmother was Jewish and he ended up converting and moving to Israel.

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