Chelsea Handler, whose favorite pastime is shouting abuse at conservatives on Twitter, often calling them Nazis, was just informed on TV that her grandfather was an actual Nazi.
In a new episode of TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are, Chelsea Handler discovers exactly what role her grandfather, Karl Stoecker, played in World War 2, and the history of her family.
Quivering and shaking after being told the news, Handler traces his path from Nazi soldier to American immigrant through documents and interviews with sources familiar with her family’s history.
Handler’s story is made all the more compelling by the fact that was she raised Jewish in a family of faith.
‘My father, I guess, made a deal with my mother when they had children that they were gonna be raised Jewish,’ Handler says. ‘So I connect with my Judaism, or the Jewish side of my family, more than anything else.‘
Flashback: Chelsea Handler was raised in a Jewish family after her parents agreed to follow the faith.
Lost in time: A historical family photo shows Karl and Elizabeth Stoecker, Handler’s maternal grandparents.
Cold hard facts: A historical document shows a photo of Handler’s grandfather being processed for unclear reasons.
Daily Mail reports: Growing up, Handler had no idea that her grandfather – a ‘very, very strong man‘ she describes as having a ‘sense of humour‘ – had a dark past.
In the episode, she reveals that he was taken as a prisoner of war to America, where he likely stayed in Montana for several years.
‘When he went back to Germany, he was very eager to come and take his family and move them back to the United States,’ Handler says.
Dear diary: Handler examines a notebook emblazoned with the Nazi swastika that purportedly belonged to her grandfather.
But even after the new immigrant family settled down, the subject of wartime Germany was always avoided by her grandfather.
‘My German grandma definitely spoke about her life during the war way more than my grandfather did,‘ Handler says. ‘He never spoke about it.’
That was probably for good reason, but when all is said and done, Handler may now be less willing to label everybody who disagrees with her a ‘Nazi.’