about jewish germany

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Leader of Germany’s Jewish community buried

Some 600 mourners on Thursday attended the funeral of Paul Spiegel, the much-respected leader of Germany's Jewish community who died last Sunday, in the western city of Duesseldorf, his hometown.

Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and the president of the Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, as well as singer Vicky Leandros were among those who paid their last respects to Spiegel.

The president of Germany's Central Council of Jews died in a clinic in Duesseldorf, his hometown, at the age 68 after a long illness.

He was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Duesseldorf on Thursday afternoon.

A memorial service for him will be held in Duesseldorf on May 29.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is currently on an official visit in Washington, is among those expected to attend the ceremony. more: EJP| Leader of Germany’s Jewish community buried: "Leader of Germany’s Jewish community buried"

"Germany is in mourning", reads a headline in Der Tagesspiegel. "Germany has reacted to the death of the president of the Central Council of Jews, Paul Spiegel, with deep sadness," the paper says.

It observes that politicians of all major parties, church leaders and representatives of other groups paid tribute to Mr Spiegel as a "great democrat" and as a man who worked for tolerance and against racism and anti-Semitism.

Die Welt says one of Mr Spiegel's "outstanding feats" was the conclusion of an agreement between the government and the Central Council of Jews in 2003. "For the first time the relationship was given a legal basis," the paper says. It adds that Mr Spiegel is also credited with having made a success of the integration of tens of thousands of Jews from eastern Europe. more

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Infighting in Berlin’s Jewish community

The central council of Berlin’s Jewish community is in disarray.
The community’s elected representatives have always been at odds with each other. And now, more than ever, divisive issues are plaguing the council.
Former council chairman Albert Meyer’s reign ended when he resigned. He promised change but was not given the chance to delve into crucial issues by opposition council members who have themselves been accused of eyeing the top post.
Meyer succeeded in bringing warring orthodox factions to the same table. But the community is virtually bankrupt and financing issues have fueled even greater discord between the smaller [surviving] German members and the Russians who make up 80% of the community’s official population. "
Full story here: Infighting in Berlin’s Jewish community

Thursday, December 29, 2005

German Rabbi recognized by country's muslims

Germany’s Central Islamic Institute and Archives has awarded its Muhamad-Nafi-Tschelebi Prize to Rabbi Henry Brandt, the state-appointed rabbi of Augsburg and a graduate of Leo Baeck College, the rabbinic seminary of Progressive Judaism in the UK and continental Europe. The award, made in recognition of Brandt’s achievements in Jewish-Muslim-Christian dialogue, is believed to be the first time a German Islamic institution has honored a Jewish theologian. The 78-year-old Brandt, born in Munich, chairs the country’s General Rabbinical Conference and is the Jewish president of the DKR, an organization working to strengthen Jewish-Christian cooperation. The prize jury called him “a pioneer in dialogue between Jews and Muslims, as well as in the dialogue between Jews and Christians." The Central Islamic Institute and Archives, founded in 1927 in the city of Soest, is Germany's oldest Islamic body. (WUPJ)

Friday, December 09, 2005

A Holocaust Survivor's Path to Peace: Forgiving Josef Mengele

Eva Kor and her twin sister both miraculously survived Auschwitz and the infamous SS doctor Josef Mengele. But despite almost being murdered, Eva forgave the Nazis. The documentary of her life has now been shown for the first time in Germany.
A quick look at the medical charts was enough. "You have just two weeks to live," the doctor said. That was it; he then left the sick bay -- without giving his patient, the 10-year-old Eva, any medication. Why should he when he wanted the young Romanian girl to die. The doctor, Josef Mengele, had himself injected her with a lethal cocktail of bacteria.
A Holocaust Survivor's Path to Peace: Forgiving Josef Mengele - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Event praises German Jewry

American Jewish organizations joined with Germany’s U.S. ambassador to commemorate German Jewry’s growth 60 years after the Holocaust. American Friends of Lubavitch co-hosted Monday evening’s event at the German Embassy in Washington... Full story here: Event praises German Jewry

Monday, December 05, 2005

German pride slogan shamed by its Nazi past

A multi-million pound campaign to boost Germans' low self-confidence has backfired after it emerged that its slogan was first coined by the Nazis.

The £20 million Du Bist Deutschland - You Are Germany - campaign was devised to inspire Germans to stop moaning and do something good for their country. Whole story about the "Du bist Deutschland" campaign:
Telegraph German pride slogan shamed by its Nazi past

and some other slogans in today's Germany that were coined by the Nazis... here

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Progressive movements are recognized by "Zentralrat"

The Central Council of Jews in Germany, the federally-recognized leadership of Germany’s Jewish communities (also known as the "Zentralrat"), has conferred membership on the Progressive movements in Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, offering each a seat on its executive board.
The move came during a Zentralrat meeting in Berlin on November 20, just days after Lower Saxony's parliament recognized the state's Board of Progressive Congregations. State recognition had been a condition for membership in the Zentralrat, which each year disburses $3 million in federal funding. Eleven Progressive congregations will be affected.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Government recognizes the state's Board of Progressive Congregations

Lower Saxony's parliament recently voted to recognize the state's Board of Progressive Congregations, overcoming – at least theoretically – the final hurdle for the Board's recognition by the Zentralrat, the federally–funded umbrella organization of Germany's Jews. The Zentralrat has said the country's Progressive congregations could share in the $3 million it receives every year from the government once they receive state charters.
According to Katarina Seidler, president of Lower Saxony's Board of Progressive Congregations, the parliamentary recognition means all Zentralrat conditions for membership have now been met. "We are happy with this important and wise decision, [which] reflects the government's recognition of our Progressive communities and our successful work."
An answer from the Zentralrat regarding membership by Lower Saxony's Progressive communities is expected on December 20. The decision concernes seven congregation:
Hannover, Goettingen, Hameln, Bad Pyrmont, Celle, Wolfsburg and Seesen – which is considered the birthplace of Reform Judaism - but today a tiny community.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Berlin's Jewish community elected new chairman

After a long conflict, Berlin's Jewish community has elected Gideon Joffe, 33, as its new chairman.
The community announced on Friday that Dr Joffe, would be a unifying figure between the Russian-speaking and German-speaking wings of the community.
Joffe, whose parents migrated to Germany from Latvia, was previously chairman of the community assembly. He was elected Thursday to head the executive board. He replaces Albert Meyer, 57, who resigned on Wednesday.

Currently, some two-thirds of the city's more than 12,000 community members are Russian and Eastern European Jews from other states of the CIS.
This has led to problems integrating in the past decade. German- born Jews contended that many of the newcomers had only a superficial knowledge of the German language or of Jewish culture.
Meyer who was elected Berlin's Jewish community leader in January 2004, told the weekly paper Juedische Allgemeine Wochenzeitung (official organ of the Zentralrat) that "irreconcilable differences in the community's leadership" had resulted in his decision to step down.
The Jevreyskaya Gazeta, a widely read Russian newspaper in Germany's Jewish community (but published by the publisher Nicholas Werner), earlier lashed out at Meyer, accusing him of intrigue. Paul Spiegel, the president of Germany's Council of Jews and a friend of Berlin-born Meyer, voiced concern.
Before the crisis came to a head, historian Julius Schoeps, the director of the Moses Mendelssohn Centre, had called on the city of Berlin's interior minister to help defuse the crisis by activating the state's supervisory control body. Some older Jewish worshippers in the city's western districts were considering establishing breakaway synagogue organizations, separating them from new-wave Russian and Eastern European Jews. There is already an orthodox jewish community Adass Jisroel which is not affiliated with Berlin's jewish community.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Holocaust memorial in Dessau vandalized

A memorial to Holocaust victims was daubed with neo-Nazi slogans and defaced with black paint, police in the eastern German city of Dessau said Monday.

Suspected rightists targeted an open-air exhibit on the production of Zyklon B gas which was used in the gas chambers at death camps such as Auschwitz.

"60 years later and are we still guilty?? No!!!," was painted in big letters over a 15 to 20 metre section of the memorial which includes abstract models of Zyklon B containers, police said.
Whole story on: Haaretz

Monday, November 07, 2005

Construction works for a new synagoge will start in Bochum

Upcoming Monday the construction works for a new synagoge will start in Bochum.

The foundation-stone will be laid on the 14th of November in presence of the former regional rabbi Dr. Henry Brandt (now Augsburg), local politicians and the head of the "Zentralrat" (Central Council- umbrella organization of German Jewry) Dr. hc. Paul Spiegel.

Medieval records attest to Jews in the city 1349, during the Black Death. The first synagogue was opened in 1594. There were 1,152 Jews in Bochum in 1933, with an array of institutions and two synagogues. In October 1938, 250 non-German Jews were expelled from the city and the main synagogue was blown up on Kristallnacht. By June 1939, 355 Jews remained in Bochum; they were later deported to Auschwitz and Theresienstadt. The jewish community of Bochum, Herne and Hattingen has 1000 members today.

Homepage of the jewish community of Bochum

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The anti-Semitism of the 68ers in germany

On November 9, 1969, on the anniversary of "Kristallnacht", over two hundred people were gathered in Berlin's Jewish Community Centre in commemoration of the victims of Nazi Germany. Unbeknownst to them, a member of the radical Left student movement "Tupamaros West Berlin" planted a bomb in the building. The device failed to explode because the clock meant to trigger it off was connected by a rusty wire. The Tupamaros saw themselves as Germany's first urban guerillas, inspired by the Latin American role model. The brains behind the plot was Dieter Kunzelmann, a leftist radical political clown, founder of the "Kommune 1" and self-proclaimed "kingpin of Chaos". In the wake of the six-day war of 1967, Kunzelmann saw Israel as an imperial state and oppressor of the Palestinians, which must be resisted with force. His opponents inside the Left, who maintained a more nuanced view of the situation in the Middle East, accused him of having a "Jew complex".
This summer, Wolfgang Kraushaar published "Die Bombe im Jüdischen Gemeindehaus" (the bomb in the Jewish Community Centre). The book reveals previously unknown information on the 1969 plot, and sparked a heated debate about anti-Semitism in the German Left in general and in the 68er movement specifically. According to historian Götz Aly, "the German 68ers were wretchedly similar to their parents." Journalist Micha Brumlik pinpoints "the radical Left rebellion against their parents' Nazi generation as a contradictory process of identification with them and their hatred of Jews."
Kraushaar's research revealed why the Berlin police had failed (or wanted to fail) in their examination of the case. Kraushaar identified Albert Fichter as the man who placed the bomb. Fichter was given the explosives – and this detail warrants further discussion – by an agent provocateur from the Berlin intelligence service who had long had the "Tupamaros West Berlin" under surveillance. Allegedly the bomb was tinkered with so it would fail to explode. Tilman Fichter, Albert's brother, at the time chairman of the SDS (German socialist student group), explains in an interview why it was and still is taboo to talk about anti-Semitism on the Left.
Read more on: The anti-Semitism of the 68ers