WeHo’s own ‘Leopoldstadt’ story


Secrets Revealed -a Personal Reflection on a History Uncovered, in Memory of the Adolf (Abraham) Mendelsohn Family

West Hollywood is home to its own real-life version of “Leopoldstadt”, and that story will be told by Geoffrey Buck, son of a Viennese survivor of the Holocaust, whose own life reflected the arguments played on in  the stage version by Tom Stoppard.   Buck will explore the secrets that survivors of the Holocaust in his own family kept from their children. Why did some hide hide their Jewish roots even for decades after Hitler was in the dust of history?

On the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Geoffrey Buck will speak at Hollywood Temple Beth El in West Hollywood on Saturday, February 4, 2023,  at 11:45 am, following services which begin at 10. 

Like the late Madelaine Albright and others, Buck discovered his Jewish heritage only as an adult. With meticulous detective work, he discovered his Jewish roots after finding documents about his father, Harry Buck, such as a exit  tax paid to be allowed to flee Austria just after Kirstallnacht. Not only did he discover that his father was a Holocaust survivor, but that his uncle’s  family had perished in Auschwitz.  He will be presenting actual historical documents from Nazi Germany, the Israelitsche Kultusgemeinde( Jewish community) in Vienna,  and the City Archives of Antwerp. 

Geoffrey Buck, a member of Hollywood Temple Beth El, has served for many years as a teacher of math for LAUSD at Hollywood High School. Rabbi Norbert Weinberg, a fellow child of a Viennese refugee from the Nazis, will moderate.

Vienna had only begun to absorb large amounts of Jews in the middle of the 19th century. It produced such notably assimilated figures as Theodore Herzl and Sigmund Freud, who were so thoroughly part of the “Blue Danube” culture of Vienna, until they discovered that they weren’t. It was this presence of aliens that motivated an Austrian failing artist by the name of Hitler to go on the path of genocide.

Attendance at the services and presentation is open to the public and can also be viewed on on https://www.facebook.com/htbel/live  and on You Tube


For more information, contact rabbiweinberg@htbel.org

Hollywood Temple Beth El is located at. 1317 N Crescent Heights Ave, West Hollywood, at the corner of Fountain.

Exit Tax of Harry Buck, a 16 year old student, paid shortly after Kristallnacht
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Rabbi Norbert Weinberg
Rabbi Norbert Weinberg
5 months ago

Information about Geoff Buck’s family can be found on the website of the Dossin Concentration Camp website:





May their memories be a blessing, and in the words of a great philsopher, Emil Fackenheim, our new command is: “Thou shalt not hand Hitler posthumous victories.” We must all do our share to continue in our heritage !

Stephanie Harker
Stephanie Harker
10 months ago

Geoff Buck is a smart, savvy guy. This event should be of great interest to us all.
He is also one of the founders of the West Hollywood Tree Preservation Society and was active in Protect Plummer Park. Thanks to Geoff for his research and service to his fellow citizens.

10 months ago

Geoff Buck is a lovely guy.

10 months ago

Before I read the piece, I thought it was a photo of Jeff Prang. My bad.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
10 months ago

West Hollywood has a thousand stories! Geoff has also been a long time neighborhood activists and environmental advocate in West Hollywood.

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