Themes/Otto Weidt's Workshop for the Blind/Recognition and Honors for Otto Weidt

Recognition and Honors for Otto Weidt

Up until the 1960s, West Germany took the view that under the Nazi regime it had been almost impossible to help victims of persecution. No honors were awarded to people who took great personal risks in helping victims of persecution. Meanwhile, in East Germany, priority was given to commemorating the communist resistance.

In 1946 Otto Weidt was officially recognized as a “victim of fascism.” After his death Else Weidt was deprived of this status as his widow in 1950 because, under a new regulation, “the recognition cannot be upheld for giving support to Jews.”

From 1956 to 1963 the West Berlin Interior Minister, Joachim Lipschitz, initiated honors for 738 Berliners who selflessly helped Jewish victims of persecution. Among those honored was Else Weidt, who received a monthly pension of 50 Deutschmarks as a person in need. This public initiative was an exception in the treatment of people who helped victims of persecution. Lipschitz failed in his efforts to get other West German federal states to follow his example.

In 1971 the Israeli national memorial, Yad Vashem, awarded Otto Weidt the distinction of “Righteous among the Nations.” Up to the end of 2007, 455 non-Jewish people from Germany who helped to save Jews had been honored by Yad Vashem.

Else Weidt und Yitzhak Ben Ari
Else Weidt and Yitzhak Ben Ari