Stern said sharing his house, with a kin of the very people who forced him from his childhood home, felt like ‘an act of justice.’
California: There is a lot that defies the norms when it comes to the two roommates in California, Ben Stern and Lea Heitfeld. There is a sizable generation gap, the gender divide and mainly the fact that they're a Holocaust survivor and the granddaughter of Nazis.
According to a report by the Washington Post, 95-year-old Stern lived in ghettos and concentration camps, but never lost faith in human kindness. He and his family lost their home in Poland to the Nazis.
31-year-old Heitfeld is a German graduate student at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, whose grandparents were active members of the Nazi Party. Unconventionally, she has decided to pursue a master’s degree in Jewish studies.
Stern said sharing his house, with a kin of the very people who forced him from his childhood home, felt like “an act of justice”. "It was the right thing to do. I'm doing the opposite of what they did", he said.
Heitfeld gives company to Stern, whose wife of more than 70 years was recently admitted to nursing home because of her worsening dementia. The pair watch TV together, eat dinner together on most nights and enjoy snacking on herring salad and crackers before meals. They share similar interests and have conversations about history and current events.