Fernando Manuel da Costa will speak for a few minutes tonight at the Ashkenazic synagogue in Lisbon.
That's not unusual for the 32-year-old native of the Portuguese capital; he's been attending Shabbat services there for nearly two decades. Now da Costa wants to tell other Portuguese with suspect Jewish roots how they can return to the fold.
Military service is in the Perl family’s blood.
Pvt. Otto Perl spent nearly a year in the Austrian army from 1937 to 1938. His father had been an officer in that same army in World War I, and two of his uncles had served in WWI.
Perl, a tailor, was 22 in early 1938 when he was discharged a few months before his homeland was annexed by Nazi Germany. A Jew, he was arrested and sent to the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps for a year. He survived the forced labor and beatings and frigid weather.