The head of a German Jewish community has been reported to be, in fact, a non-Jew falsely claiming Jewish heritage.
Wolfgang Seibert, 71, has since 2003 been heading the Jewish community of Pinneberg, a town near Hamburg in northern Germany, and publicly identifies as a Reform Jew.
But family documents show that neither he nor his parents and grandparents are Jewish, and that he hasn’t converted to Judaism, according to a report Friday by the German newspaper Der Spiegel, which called him a “scammer.”
Research revealed that Seibert was born to Christian Protestant parents in Frankfurt and baptized at the age of three days, according to the report.
Almanya'nın Schleswig-Holstein eyaletinin Pinneberg kentinde bulunan Yahudi Cemaati'nin başkanı Wolfgang Seibert bazı yayın organlarının iddiasına göre yahudi olmayan bir sahtekar imiş. pic.twitter.com/Y5F4GAFcAF
— Ayhan Mehter (@ayhmeh) October 20, 2018
His paternal grandfather and father both fought for Nazi Germany’s armed forces in World War II, the report said, adding that they wouldn’t have been drafted to the Wehrmacht had they been considered Jews.
Seibert has claimed his grandmother Anna Katharina Schmidt was a survivor of Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz. But the report said her grandfather was Protestant.
Der Spiegel also wrote that Seibert has a criminal record for several cases of fraud and embezzlement.
Seibert rejected the allegations and said he would respond this week after consulting his lawyer, German media reported. Some reports claimed that he intends to resign.
Seibert has been a proponent of liberal Judaism and interfaith dialogue. He made headlines in 2014 when his community granted a Muslim refugee church asylum.