zum Verständnis
des Judentums

Forty Years of Diplomatic
Relations between the 
Federal Republic of 
Germany and Israel
40 Years of Diplomatic Relations
Horst Köhler
Moshe Katsav
Gerhard Schröder
Ariel Sharon
Joschka Fischer
Shimon Stein
Paul Spiegel
Niels Hansen
Mordechay Lewy
Katharina Hoba
Peter Steinbach
Edna Brocke
Michael Bröning
Edelgard Bulmahn
Kaspar von Harnier
Michael Inacker
Christine Mähler
Wolfgang Mayrhuber
Hans-Georg Meyer
Heinrich von Pierer
Werner Bergmann / Juliane Wetzel
Walter Schilling
Anton Maegerle
Rachel Bendicha
Stefan Braun
Angela Merkel
Thomas Haury
Heiner Lichtenstein
Susanne Urban
A Realist in the Spirit of Ben-Gurion
Germany on the Right Way
Learned from History
The Right to Live in Security
Convinced of the Two-State Solution
A Sort of Common Destiny
There are Signs of Hope
A Thorny Path
?Jeckes? in Israel
Miracles do not last forever
Prevalent Indifference
The Focus on Terror and ?Normalisation?
It began in Rehovot
The Role of the Weizmann Institute
Challenged to a Special Degree
Past, Present and Future
Mobility and Democracy
More than a Special Relationship
Dependent on Peace
?Test of Democracy?
Israel?s Security Policies and Strategy
Jihad against the Jews and Israel
Living with Terrorism
No Peace over Israel?
We do not Want to Draw a Line
The GDR and the ?Aggressor State, Israel?
The ?Final Solution? was not the End
Recollections and Remembrance


?The establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries was overdue on 12th March 1965. This year they reach an age of Biblical proportions: 40. This number is of great symbolic significance in the history of the Jewish people.? That is what German President Horst Köhler wrote for our TRIBÜNE shortly before his state visit to Israel, which was crowned with success and constitutes the prelude to numerous activities in both countries in this anniversary year. 

To mark this gratifying occasion many prominent public figures have been willing to make themselves available to converse with us or to cooperate as authors in this issue. President Köhler takes readers with him on a journey through the many facets of German-Israeli relations. Moshe Katsav, the president of Israel, whom Paul Spiegel rightly describes as a bridgebuilder not only between Israelis and Germans, but also between Jewish communities in Israel and in Germany, accentuates the basic values shared by the two states. Ariel Sharon, the head of the Israeli government, answers, among other things, our questions about the ?security barriers?, the source of so much controversy in the West, and emphasises their great effectiveness as protection from terrorist attacks. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder attributes an ongoing special quality to German-Israeli relations today, in view of the past that we share, and refers at the same time to constraints within the framework of concerted European policy. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer provides insightful observations on the EU?s role and voptions in influencing the Middle East conflict. Edelgard Bulmahn, the German minister for education, who got to know Israel at first hand early on, in the course of various visits, presents a thoroughly personal view, and shows herself to be especially impressed by the Israelis? courage. And Ambassador Shimon Stein, Israel?s representative in Germany, laments ?a tremendous lack of trust? on the part of Israelis towards the Europeans, which he says Germany can help to dispel.

This swift canter through the contents of the publication that lies before you must suffice for the moment. TRIBÜNE wishes to thank all those who have worked on this special issue, and we hope that our readers find reading it at least as interesting as we found working on it to be.

50 Years of Israel
From Vision to Reality
50 Years of Israel - From Vision to Reality
  8   Ezer Weizman 
  9   Reinhard Mohn 
 10   Roman Herzog 
 12   Helmut Kohl 
 17   Benjamin Netanyahu 
 21   Ehud Barak 
 24   Gerhard Schröder 
 29   Ludger Heid 
 41   Ilan Hameiri 
 49   Dan van Weisl 
 56   Wolfgang Benz 
 65   Alice Schwarz-Gardos 
 76   Susanne Urban-Fahr 
 91   Yitzhak Navon 
 95   Anneliese Rabun 
104   Asher Ben-Natan 
116   Volker Rühee 
121   Dov Ben-Meir 
130   Dieter SchuIte 
135   Josef Burg 
138   Rachel Heuberger 
151   Hartmut G. Bomhoff 
161   Kalman Yaron 
170   Azmi Bishara 
173   Avi Primor 
182   Hartwig Bierhoff 
189   Yohanan Meroz 
196   Tekla Szyamanski 
205   Klaus Kinkel 
211   Markus A. Weingardt 
227   Rita Süssmuth 
232   Ignatz Bubis 
239   Rainer Erb 
248   David Witzthum 
257   Dieter H. Vogel 
261   Hanan Bar-On 
279   Orna Berry
283   Heinrich von Pierer 
288   Stef Wertheimer 
293   Rachel Bendicha
302   Jürgen Rüttgers 
309   Dror Amir 
321   Frank Unruh 
333   Naomi Bubis 
339   Annette Weber 
349   Anat Feinberg 
358   Barbara von der Lühe 
368   Horst Dahlhaus 
Message of the President
Words of Greeting
A Mesh of Understanding
Defined by the Memory of the Shoah
Peace is the Most Important Goal
A Peace of the Brave
Don't Voice Only Agreement
Next Year in Jerusalem
Pioneers of the New Settlement
Into the Homeland of the Fathers
Emigration from Germany
The Jekkes
Silence, Trauma and Memory
Not Like Every Other
A Free and Democratic Land
Israel's Army of Defense
Out of Hope Grew Reality
The Histadrut in the Jubilee Year
A Partnership Which has Proven Itself
The Religious and the Jewish State
The Struggle for Equal Rights
Jews, Christians and Muslims
Fundamentalism in the Middle East
Two Peoples in One Land
Herzl's Dream is Our Goal
From Camp David to Oslo
Complex and Difficult
Cooperation and Competition
The Attitude Towards Israel has Changed
Tactics Without a Concept?
Coarsening is Distortion
Ref1ections of a German Jew
Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism
Reality and Image
Construction and Upswing
From Agriculture to High-Tech
Israel's Economic Miracle
We Can Learn From Israel
If You Want, There Will Be Exports
One-Third Have Studied
Test Passed With Flying Colors
Environmental Protection in Israel
Between Identity and Ideologv
Architecture and Town Planning
From Dream to Realitv
Between Tradition and Post-Modern
Musical Life
Never Boring
Measured against the 4,000 year Jewish history, the 50 year long ex-
istence of the modern State of Israel seems like a fleeting moment. None-
theless, the jubilee of the proclamation of the Jewish state has occasioned
publishers and the editorial staff of the >>TRIBÜNE - Journal for the
Understanding of Jewry and Judaism<< to at least sketch out the develop-
ment of this unique land. It must therefore remain a vague attempt to
trace the relevant components of the story of a state - politics, economy,
society and social issues, education and culture, up to and including re-
ligion and architecture.
 When the declaration of independence of the State of Israel was pro-
claimed by David Ben-Gurion on the l4th of May 1948, this meant more
than just the fulfillment of the Zionist dream which had begun in 1897
with the book by Theodor Herzl, >>The Jewish State<<. For many Jews, 
the founding of Israel was tantamount to a rebirth: after the Shoah, 
thousands of Jews in Europe, the DP camps in the west German occupa-
tion zones, as well as in the British internment camps on Cyprus, waited 
for a possibility of beginning a new life in Palestine. Their hope, to live free
and self determined lives in a Jewish state, had become reality. The Shoah,
the mass murder of Europe's Jews, appeared, however, to have destroyed
the bridges between Jews and German non-Jews for all time. How the
cautious approach between Germany and Israel began, what setbacks it
suffered, and upon what solid foundation the German-Israeli relationship
stands today is likewise a part of this present volume. The editorial staff
hopes that particularly these interviews and contributions will make clear
how multi-faceted not only the political and economic relations, but also
the relationships between Israeli and German individuals have become.
 The ambassador of the State of Israel in Germany and the publishers
wish to thank the Chairman of the Board of the Bertelsmann Foundation,
Reinhard Mohn, who made this project possible by providing Foundation
resources so that these topics (culled from three issues of TRIBÜNE)
now also appear in the English language, where they can be made access-
ible to the international public.

(Ambassador of the State of Israel in Germany)

(Editorial board of TRIBÜNE)

Juden in Deutschland
nach 1945

Bürger oder >>Mit<< -Bürger?

Juden in Deutschland nach 1945

9  Vorwort
11 Editorial

I  Neuanfang nach der Schoah
14 Ignatz Bubis 
25 Hanno Loewy 
35 Michael Brenner 
45 Robert Guttmann 
Erschütterungen sind zu überstehen
Jüdische Existez in Deutschland
Epilog oder Neuanfang 
Ohne Anfang und ohne Ende
II Vergangenheit und Gegenwart
54 Wolfgang Benz 
64 Kirsten Serup-Bilfeldt 
69 Heiner Lichtenstein 
77 Ulrich Renz 
81 Rainer Erb 
86 Henryk M. Broder 
90 Alphons Silbermann 
Reaktionen auf den Holocaust
Warum der kleine Ochs sterben musste
Das Recht auf den Pass
Klischees über >>gute<< und >>böse<< Juden
Der Vordenker als Wegdenker
Was bedeutet >>Auschwitz<< heute?
III Ost und West
98 Andreas Nachama 
108 Hanna Struck 
118 Lothar Mertens 
124 Ursula Homann 
134 Roberto Fabian 
146 Ludger Heid 
154 Herzs Krymalowski 
162 Christophe Baginski
Ost und West
Juden in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Optimistische Erwartungen
Juden in Hessen
Ein Erbe als Herausforderung
Jüdische Gemeinden im Ruhrgebiet
Perspektiven entwickeln
Ignoranz oder Wohlwollen?
IV Religion und Soziales
166 Moritz Neumann 
176 Benjamin Bloch 
186 Dalia Moneta 
199 Rachel Heuberger 
209 Willi Jasper/Bernhard Vogt
221 Elena Solomonski 
Gemeinschaft oder Gemeinde?
Zedaka - die Gerechtigkeit 
Displaced People 
Jüdische Jugend in Deutschland 
Integration und Selbstbehauptung
Akzeptanz oder Emanzipation?
V Kultur
234 Leibl Rosenberg 
244 Cilly Kugelmann 
251 Susanne Urban-Fahr 
263 Joseph Deih 
279 Anneliese Rabun 
Jüdische Kultur in Deutschland heute
Jüdische Museen in Deutschland
Jüdische Presse - Juden in der Presse
Jüdische Studien in Deutschland
Gestaltung und Ausdruck

Hoyerswerda, Rostock, Mölln, Solingen ? um nur diese wenigen Orte zu nennen ? reichten 1993 nach rechtsradikalen und ausländerfeindlichen Ausschreitungen, antisemitischen Schmierereien und Friedhofsschändungen, um in den Medien Schlagzeilen zu machen. Diese schockierende Entwicklung alarmierte viele Staaten, aber in erster Linie die deutsche Öffentlichkeit. Solche und ähnliche Straftaten waren seit Gründung der Bundesrepublik bereits des öfteren auf der Tagesordnung gewesen. Doch der Hass und die brutale Gewalt waren bis dahin weder in dieser Dimension sichtbar noch in einem solch erschreckenden Ausmaß wahrgenommen worden. Dieser Hass konnte aber zugleich Solidarität mit den bedrängten, ausgegrenzten und angegriffenen Minderheiten wecken.

Diese düstere Bilanz war 1994 Anlass für Wissenschaftler, Publizisten und Journalisten, den Verein "Wider das Vergessen" zu gründen. Nach vielen Gesprächen und Beratungen mit Experten hatte die Satzung schon bald Gestalt angenommen und "Wider das Vergessen" wurde ins Vereinsregister eingetragen. Das wichtigste Ziel des Vereins ist, Ausländerhass und Antisemitismus durch die Vermittlung eines den Tatsachen entsprechenden Geschichtsbildes zu bekämpfen. An die Stelle von Vorurteilen gegen Minderheiten und die Verdrängung oder gar Leugnung der Schoah sollen differenzierte Menschenbilder treten. Die Öffentlichkeit soll sich der deutschen Geschichte in all ihren Facetten bewusst werden und sich ihr stellen. Dabei dürfen die Jüngeren nicht mit Schuld oder Scham belastet werden. Über die angemessene Auseinandersetzung mit den Verbrechen des NS-Staates und die vielfältigen ?Verstrickungen? von Behörden, Unternehmen und des so genannten ?ganz normalen? Deutschen könnten gerade Jugendliche sensibilisiert und letztlich motiviert werden, Verantwortung für die Geschichte zu übernehmen - und damit Zivilcourage und Toleranz festigen und schärfen. 

Eine im Auftrag von ?Wider das Vergessen? und ?TRIBÜNE? erstellte Studie des Kölner Instituts für Massenkommunikation unter der Leitung von Prof. Alphons Silbermann, deren Ergebnisse im November 1998 der Öffentlichkeit präsentiert wurden, hat gezeigt, dass eine breite Bildungs- und Aufklärungsoffensive dringend notwendig ist, um gerade Jugendlichen die Bedeutung von Auschwitz für die Gegenwart verständlich zu machen.

Auschwitz ist zum Symbol für den millionenfachen Mord an den europäischen Juden geworden. Doch auch Polen, Sinti und Roma, Widerstandskämpfer aus ganz Europa und russische Kriegsgefangene wurden dort gequält und umgebracht. Aufgabe des Vereins ?Wider das Vergessen? ist es daher auch, sich dafür zu verwenden, dass notwendige konservatorische Arbeiten am ehemaligen Konzentrations- und Vernichtungslager Auschwitz-Birkenau erfolgen können ? damit niemals vergessen wird, wohin Ausgrenzung und Hass führen können, wenn jegliche demokratischen und humanistischen Prinzipien ausser Kraft gesetzt sind.

Der im August 1999 verstorbene Präsident des Zentralrates der Juden in Deutschland, Ignatz Bubis, hat sich trotz seines stets prall gefüllten Terminkalenders sofort bereit erklärt, der Gründungsfeier des Vereins im September 1994 in Düsseldorf eine Ansprache zu halten, um dem Verein dadurch seine Unterstützung zu beweisen. Auch der damalige Ministerpräsident des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, der heutige Bundespräsident Johannes Rau, hat in seinen Ausführungen die uneingeschränkte Bereitschaft geäußert, der Arbeit von  "Wider das Vergessen" in Zukunft mit Rat und Tat zur Seite zu stehen ? ebenso Dr. Dieter Vogel, seinerzeit Vorstandsvorsitzender der Thyssen AG, die gemeinsam mit der Westdeutschen Landesbank die Patenschaft für "Wider das Vergessen" übernommen hat. 
Das Echo auf der Gründung von" Wider das Vergessen" war auch im Ausland so groß, dass der amerikanische Regisseur Steven Spielberg "Wider das Vergessen" bat, in Frankfurt am Main die Deutschland-Premiere seines Filmes ?Schindlers Liste?  zu organisieren.  Die Einnahmen aus dieser Benefiz-Veranstaltung und einem zusätzlichen Galadiner bei dem damaligen Oberbürgermeister der Stadt Frankfurt am Main, Andreas von Schoeler, das zu Ehren Spielbergs gegeben wurde, beliefen sich schließlich auf eine sechsstellige Summe, die der Gedenkstätte Auschwitz-Birkenau für dringende Restaurierungs- und Koservierungsarbeiten überwiesen werden konnten. 

Auch mit zahlreichen anderen Veranstaltungen, Ausstellungen, Vorträgen und Lesungen hat der  Verein seitdem versucht, dem bedauerlicherweise wachsenden Rechtsradikalismus, der Ausländerfeindlichkeit und nicht zuletzt dem Antisemitismus entgegenzuwirken. Es sollen aber auch jene Intellektuelle, die seit Jahren lautstark für einen ?Schlussstrich? unter die Beschäftigung mit der NS-Zeit und gegen die unerläßliche Gedenkarbeit plädieren, mit ihrer eigenen ?Waffe? ? dem Wort ? geschlagen werden. 

Wir widmen diesen Sammelband  mit den Beiträgen aus ?TRIBÜNE - Zeitschrift zum Verständnis des Judentums? dem im August 1999 verstorbenen Ignatz Bubis, der dieses Buch selber hatte vorstellen wollen. Er hat das Projekt von Anfang an mit Wohlwollen begleitet.
"Wider das Vergessen" ist entschlossen, auch in Zukunft im Geiste von Ignatz Bubis gegen Vorurteile, Diskriminierung und Gewalt - für Toleranz - einzutreten. 

(Otto R. Romberg)



Die hier veröffentlichten Beiträge erschienen zuerst 1998 und 1999 in ?TRIBÜNE ? Zeitschrift zum Verständnis des Judentums? anlässlich des 60. Jahrestages der Reichspogromnacht vom 9. November 1938. Zu Beginn des NS-Terrors hatte mehr als eine halbe Million Juden in Deutschland gelebt. Nach der Befreiung im Mai 1945 waren es noch etwa 12 000.

Die Zahl der in der Bundesrepublik lebenden Juden wurde in Umfragen stets viel zu hoch geschätzt. Statt der konstanten Zahl von 30 000 lagen die Angaben zumeist zwischen Hunderttausenden und Millionen. Auch die deutsche Einheit änderte nichts an der Zahl der Juden in Deutschland, denn in den wenigen jüdischen Gemeinden in der DDR hatte es nur knapp 350 Mitglieder gegeben. Erst die 1990 einsetzende Zuwanderung von Juden aus den Nachfolgestaaten der ehemaligen Sowjetunion belebte und veränderte die überalterte jüdische Gemeinschaft in Deutschland. Heute leben hier etwa 75 000 Juden. 

Lange Zeit bezeichneten sich Juden, die in Deutschland lebten, nicht als ?deutsche Juden?, sondern beharrten darauf, unverändert auf den berühmten ?gepackten Koffern? zu sitzen. Das gewachsene Vertrauen in die deutsche Demokratie, ihre Verbundenheit mit  den Städten, in denen sie leben, sowie das beispielhafte Bekenntnis von Ignatz Bubis, er sei ?deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens?, machten Deutschland für viele zu einer neuen Heimat. Nicht selten wird aber leider dieses neu gewachsene Gefühl durch antisemitische Hetze und die unüberlegte, grundsätzlich ausgrenzende Bezeichnung von Juden als ?jüdische Mitbürger? ins Wanken gebracht. Deshalb reagierte Bubis in einem seiner letzten Gespräche mit TRIBÜNE auf den Zustand zwischen Akzeptanz und Diskriminierung mit den Worten ?Erschütterungen sind zu überstehen?.

Jüdisches Leben in Deutschland wird hierzulande und im Ausland, besser gesagt: weltweit vor allem zu Gedenktagen, nach rechtsradikalen Ausschreitungen oder antisemitischen Vorfällen registriert. Obwohl es vielfältige Bemühungen gibt, sich in Politik und Gesellschaft mit der NS-Vergangenheit auseinanderzusetzen, blieben und bleiben die jüdische Geschichte, die Entwicklung der Gemeinden sowie die facettenreiche kulturelle und vielschichtige soziale Situation der Nachkriegsjahre, aber auch der Gegenwart ein Buch mit sieben Siegeln. Die Situation der Juden im einstigen ?Land der Täter" ist jedoch auch ein Stück Geschichte der vor 50 Jahren gegründeten Bundesrepublik. 

Mit kompetenten Beiträgen namhafter Autorinnen und Autoren versuchen wir in diesem Sammelband, das jüdische Leben nach dem Holocaust aufzufächern, das mittlerweile Bestandteil der demokratischen Gesellschaft geworden ist. Es geht um jüdische Überlebende und ihren Wunden, von Identitätsproblemen und Antisemitismus, aber auch um die jüdische Jugend, um Religion und jüdisches soziales Engagement, um osteuropäische Einwanderer - und schließlich werden einige exemplarische Gemeinden in Ost- und Westdeutschland porträtiert.

Wir möchten Nichtjuden in Deutschland wie auch in anderen Ländern helfen, einen Blick auf jüdische Befindlichkeiten und die Hoffnungen der Juden in Deutschland 55 Jahre nach Ende des Holocaust an der Schwelle zum 21. Jahrhundert, zu werfen.

(Otto R. Romberg)                (Susanne Urban-Fahr)

Jews in Germany after 1945

Citizens or  >>Fellow<< Citizens?

Juden in Deutschland nach 1945

10 Chancellor Gerhard Schröder
13 Otto R. Romberg/Susanne Urban-Fahr
15 Avi Primor

Words of Greeting
I  New Beginning After the Shoah
20 Ignatz Bubis 
30 Paul Spiegel
34 Gerhard Schröder
38 Hanno Loewy 
48 Michael Brenner 
57 Robert Guttmann 
He Who Bilds a Home, Intends to Stay
Soon 120,000 Jews in Germany
Fifty Years Central Council
Unanswered Questions
Epilogue or Preface?
Without Beginning, Without End
II Past and Present
66 Wolfgang Benz 
76 Kirsten Serup-Bilfeldt 
81 Heiner Lichtenstein 
89 Ulrich Renz 
93 Rainer Erb 
98 Henryk M. Broder 
102 Alphons Silbermann 
Reactions to the Holocaust
Why Little Ochs Had to Die
Nazi Trials
The Right to Citizenship
»Good« and »Bad« Jews
The Ignominious Intellectual
What Does »Auschwitz« Mean Today
III East and West
110 Andreas Nachama 
119 Hanna Struck 
129 Lothar Mertens 
135 Ursula Homann 
144 Roberto Fabian 
155 Ludger Heid 
163 Herzs Krymalowski 
171 Christophe Baginski
East and West
Jews in Mecklenburg & Pornerania
Optimistic Expectations
Jews in the State of Hesse
The Challenge of Inheritance
Jewish Communities in the Ruhr
Developing Potential
Ignorance or Goodwill?
IV Religion and Social Life
176 Moritz Neumann 
185 Benjamin Bloch 
195 Dalia Moneta 
207 Rachel Heuberger 
217 Willi Jasper/Bernhard Vogt
228 Elena Solomonski 
Secular or Religious Community? 
Zedaka - Charity and Social Justice 
Displaced People
Jewish Youth in Germany
Integration and Self-Assertion
Acceptance or Emancipation?
V Culture
240 Leibl Rosenberg 
257 Cilly Kugelmann 
255 Susanne Urban-Fahr
266 Anneliese Rabun 
Jewish Culture in Germany Today
Jewish Museums in Germany
Jewish Press - Jews in the Press
Architectural Form and Expression

Words of Greetings

Gerhard Schröder 
(Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany)

The present book is dedicated to the memory of Ignatz Bubis. Transcending his death in August 1999, his name symbolizes the untiring effort to facilitate understanding between Jews and non-Jews in our country, as well as a cooperation in shaping the present and future.

The collection of essays in »Jews in Germany after 1945 ? Citizens or ?Fellow? Citizens?« trace developments from the first days following the war in liberated Berlin to the admission of Jewish migrants in the new federal states of eastern Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall and German Unification. The writings contained here analyze the historical, political, social, cultural and religious dimensions of Jewish life in Germany since 1945 and portray a many-facetted and informative picture without looking away from difficulties and problems, such as right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism, or being caught in the spell of the past.

The collection also makes clear that the process from »fellow« citizen to »full« citizen, from stranger in our midst to natural participant in German society, has not yet come to full fruition ? as Ignatz Bubis pointed out in one of his last interviews, which also appears on these pages. 

Xenophobia and racist violence have still unfortunately not been overcome in our country. The federal government will continue to act against all forms of violence and intolerance with the utmost determination and with all necessary means. We owe it to ourselves, our children and our grandchildren to make sure that racism and anti-Semitism no longer find fertile soil in Germany.

I especially wish that many young people abroad will read this collection which points to the necessity of sensitizing German youth against forgetting the crimes of National Socialism and to a future peaceful cohabitation in mutual understanding.

click here to enlarge
click to enlarge
original letter


The articles published here first appeared in 1998 and 1999 in »TRIBÜNE ? Zeitschrift zum Verständnis des Judentums,« a German-language quarterly journal dedicated to fostering an understanding of Judaism, on the occasion of the 60th year anniversary of Reich Pogrom Night on Nov. 9, 1938. About 500,000 Jews lived in Germany at the onset of Nazi terror. Only 12,000 remained after the liberation of the concentration camps in May 1945. 
Survey responses have always estimated the number of Jews living in the Federal Republic of Germany as much too high. While the number of Jews living in Germany remained constant at 30,000 for decades, the respondents of surveys constantly placed this number at between 100,000 and 1,000,000. German Unification itself did little to change the number of Jews in Germany, as there were only about 350 members of the small Jewish communities in the former East Germany. It was first the commencement of Jewish immigration from the former Soviet Union beginning in 1990 that served to revive and transform the Jewish community in Germany with its disproportionately top-heavy demographic scale. Almost 100,000 Jews live in Germany today. 
For a long time, Jews living in Germany refused to define themselves as »German Jews,« and insisted instead on their proverbial »sitting upon packed luggage.« A growing trust in German democracy, connections to the cities in which they live, and the example set by Ignatz Bubis, the late and former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, who declared himself a »German citizen of Jewish belief,« lead many to accept Germany as their new home. Unfortunately, ongoing anti-Semitic agitation, as well as the ill-considered and fundamentally exclusionary description of Jews as »Jewish fellow citizens,« does shake the Jewish community in its new-found trust. This is why, in one of his last interviews with TRIBÜNE, Bubis responded to the condition of acceptance and discrimination with the words, »Minor disturbances are to be overcome.« 
Jewish life in Germany and abroad is accompanied by right-wing extremism and anti-Semitic troublemaking ? especially on Jewish days of commemoration. Although German society and politics is going to great lengths in coming to terms with the Nazi past, Jewish history, the many-faceted cultural and social developments of Jewish communities in post-war Germany, and even the present situation for Jews living in Germany, remains a book of seven seals. Nevertheless, Jewish life in »the former land of the perpetrators« is an intimate part of the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, founded more than 50 years ago. 
That the judgment of Germany has undergone transformation ? in spite its Nazi past and the persistence of right-wing extremism in every-day life ? is the result of the 
honest efforts of German institutions and the general public in responsibly and thoroughly coming to terms with this past. As Paul Spiegel, the new president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, emphasized in an interview with TRIBÜNE, the most obvious sign of Jewish trust in the Germany is the increasing number of Jews living here, which will soon reach 120,000 with the influx of Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe. Even into the late 1970s, Jews living abroad, especially in Israel, could hardly muster understanding for those choosing to settle in Germany. The address of the former Israeli ambassador to Germany, Avi Primor, at the presentation of the German edition of the present book in November 1999, was an indication of Germany?s gradually changing image ? even in Israeli. 
Contained in this anthology are poignant essays and articles from renowned authors which characterize Jewish life in Germany after the Holocaust as an aspect of democratic society. At the center of this book are the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, their wounds and identity problems, as well as yesterday?s and today?s anti-Semitism. Jewish youth, religion, social work and Eastern European immigrants are also central themes. Finally, a number of exemplary Jewish communities in eastern and western Germany are portrayed. 
Our aim is to help non-Jews, not only in Germany, but all around the world, understand the sensitivities and hopes of Jews in Germany at the dawn of the 21st century, more than a half a century after the Holocaust. 
We extend our thanks the Public Relations Office of the Federal Republic of Germany (Berlin), as well as the ZEIT-Foundation Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius (Hamburg), DaimlerChrysler (Stuttgart) and especially Volkswagen (Wolfsburg), whose generous support made this English translation possible. 

(Otto R. Romberg)                  (Susanne Urban-Fahr)


Avi Primor


I am here today to introduce the publishing release of a book - it is, however, perhaps less a book than a work of art, a challenge or an ideal. All of the preceding speakers today have touched on relations between Jews and non-Jews, and the life of Jews in Germany in the past, present and future. This is no easy topic for me. I am neither German, nor a German Jew. I was raised differently. In my youth, it was considered a disgrace for a Jew to even go to Germany. It was a humiliation for all Jews and all Israelis to learn that there were actually Jews who were living in Germany by choice. We viewed it as degrading to Jews around the globe that Jewish people once again settled among the nation of their executors. ?Among the criminals?? we asked. ?Jews wanted to live there?!? We asked what this even meant that Jews were living there. And if it was true, we wanted to know how they lived. ?Like Jews had lived in Germany in earlier days?? ?As Germans, or perhaps even as German patriots, as was once the case?? We wondered whether Jews should really aspire to this after everything that happened. We were convinced that they must be Jews without dignity. We viewed them as a shame to us all and we wondered who they were, there Jews were living in Germany after the Shoah. For the most part, they were not even German Jews, but Jews who were abused, survivors of the concentration camps who had no visa and choice but to stay, or hadn't the faintest idea where to go. Some started work at any random location, built new lives and then decided stay where they were. We knew nothing of this. For us, everything was black and white. Those with dignity, that was us. We lived in our homeland. We were had become a normal people again, with a political community, and we had a state apparatus like all other people. 
Jews abroad? Yes, there were and are Jews in other countries around the world, not just in Germany. In general, we didn't understand why Jews should live any other place than in Israel. Why do we have this country? Why did we call the Zionist movement into existence and fight for the founding of an independent country? Because we were convinced that the 19th century emancipation of Jews had failed. The emancipation of Jews was a dream - we only deceived ourselves by believing that we had become Germans, French and British. Legally, it was true. Equality for Jews. Civil rights for Jews. Yes, these countries were willing to grant that. But were they truly able to? 
Dear Michel Friedman, this is what many Jews thought in the 19th, and even in the 20th century. But it just wasn't true. Michel, you are a German citizen, and you insist upon this. This is your legal right. And you are naturally right - but this is precisely what my grandparents thought, too... right here in Frankfurt. My mother was born in Frankfurt and left by coincidence in 1932. She met my future father in Palestine and stayed with him. After she wrote her parents that she had met a man in Palestine, a man who she loved and wanted to marry, they responded with a nasty letter. They couldn't understand why a proper German girl would want to live abroad and not at home in Germany. What did she want to live in the desert for anyway? They were great German patriots - and they died in a concentration camp. They were convinced of their identities as Germans, convinced of the German-Jewish symbiosis. They didn't just imagine this... they lived it. But it didn't last, anywhere. 
I was in Paris at the end of the 1960s. There was a well-know caf? on Champs-Elys?es that still exists today. It is called ?Drugstore,? and is fashioned in an old American Western style. I didn't know Paris well at the time, I looked around the place and thought it must belong to an American. I asked the waiter, ?Excuse me, but does this caf? belong to an American? He answered: ?No, why?? I persisted, ?Then, it must belong to a Frenchman, no?? The waiter paused and said, ?Well, no. He's a Jew!? I stared and asked whether he was French and received the answer: ?But the owner is very nice, he's a very nice man!? But that the Jew was French, he wouldn't say.
I once studied in the United States, and at the time there was a very well-known American Jew - Arthur Goldberg, a judge, and then an ambassador at the UN. The American Jews said at the time, ?Goldberg is an American name!? I heard this thousands of times - but only from Jews, never from a non-Jew.
So the problem is not a only a German one, and it is not just about whether Jews are citizens. For they are citizens, wherever they live in the world today. It isn't the 18th century anymore. Equality and civil rights are a matter of fact. But this is not the point. The strivings of the 18th century are not our strivings today. It is now a question of social rights and recognition. Our legal problems have been solved. 
I believe that Israelis were unable to understand how and why Jews could live in Germany after the Holocaust, nor how they could live in any other country than Israel. We couldn't understand it at all then, but we understand it better today. We know that there will always be Jews living outside of Israel. One cannot arbitrarily delete 2000 years of Jewish life dispersed around the world. It doesn't disappear because we see things through a different idealism today. It doesn't work that way. Jewish communities will continue to be found in countries around the world. The will be citizens of their countries, but they will hopefully have an allegiance to Israel. We Israelis have learned to look upon such matters with more composure.
But if we understand this - if we accept that Jews live with dignity in the United States, France, Italy and elsewhere - then why not in Germany? What is Germany today? We Israelis know exactly why. We have a deep connection to this country. 
We know that David Ben-Gurion was the first to say in the 1950s that a new Germany was emerging from the rubble of the past. And he said that it was our moral obligation to provide support for those looking for a new start in Germany. He was one of the first Israelis to understand, but now almost do. Relations to Germany have become so far advanced that we claim Germany as our second most important partner after the United States. If we are of the utmost confidence that Germany is now a democratic country, why should the thought prevail that Jews should live in Italy or England, but not in Germany? Today, we understand that it is possible. 
We no longer see Jews living in Germany as a disgrace for Israelis. We also are committed to having the same deep relations with Jews in Germany as we do with Jews in other countries. 
In my opinion, Ignatz Bubis represented the dignity of Jews in Germany. He opened the channels of understanding and communication between Jews in Germany and Israelis. These channels were somewhat clogged even though officially, relations to the Federal Republic were already good. More than anything, we needed dialogue between Jews and Jews. Dialogue facilitates understanding. 
Without being socially accepted, one can be an official citizen, one can be legally recognized - as in the past. The question is whether Jews and non-Jews can speak openly and honestly with one another in their interpersonal relationships. We have developed such relationships to Germans and they are now the basis of a thriving cooperation. While at the beginning this was rather forced, the interpersonal relationships between Germans and Israelis are now responsible for the pleasant contemporary understanding. Admittedly, it wasn't as complicated for Israelis to mend relations to Germans. Different than Jews living in Germany, Israelis did not have Germans as neighbors. How do we even enter dialogue with Germans? They come to Israel as tourists, Israelis travel to Germany, there are business relations - but we do not live together in our daily lives. 
They know that Israel is a land of immigrants and that we tell a lot of jokes about immigration and integration. There is one joke about a very dignified and wise rabbi who is lying in his death bed. In a dream, just before he passes away, the Prophet appears to him and says: ?You have always led a life full of dignity. When your time has come, you can choice wherever you want to go. But so that you know what your choices are, I will take you with me now.? The rabbi is first shown paradise. It looks like a synagogue. Elderly Jews are sitting in prayer. ?Yes,? the rabbi says, ?All very divine. I've seen this my whole life. Very interesting.? And then they travel to hell. It looks like a cabaret. People are dancing and singing, the women are naked and everything is absolutely beautiful. The rabbi says, ?I've never seen this! Now I know what I want!? A week later he dies, arrives in heaven, and requests that he go to hell. He is then shown to a dark, small room, where he is beaten, has boiling water poured upon him and screams and howls for the Prophet. When he arrives, he says, ?Why are you screaming like that? Don't you have what you want?? The rabbi responded that it looked differently one week ago. The Prophet answered, ?Yes, a week ago you came as a tourist. Now you are an immigrant!?
The relationship between Germans and Israelis is a story of success - but it is the story of relations between tourists. Jews living in Germany have it different. The question of whether Jews are, or will become, true citizens, is a question of interpersonal ties. It is not enough that Jews have ?legal? equal rights. They must be recognized by society as equal members. Only then will Michel Friedman's words ring true - that German society is composed of Catholics, Protestants, atheists, Moslems and Jews. But there is still much to be done. The country is not quite that far yet. 
In building these interpersonal relationships, I see nothing better or more effective, nothing as deep-reaching, as the book, ?Jews in Germany after 1945 - Citizens or 'fellow' Citizens.? 
First of all, because this is a book of the people, and not of officials - just as TRIBÜNE, like the organization, ?Against Forgetting,? is not a governmental institution, but rather a collection of simple, straight-forward people, without great support, without a budget, who are devoted to changing interpersonal relationships between Jews and non-Jews in Germany for the better. If this book can awaken so much interest, and can fill such a large hall, and if so many people read this book and discuss its contents, then it will lead indeed lead to the its goal of greater interpersonal understanding - and I am not just saying this out of superficial politeness.
Reading through this book, I suddenly understood why the Leo-Baeck-Preis of the Central Council of Jews in Germany was presented to Richard von Weizsäcker in 1994, Johannes Rau in 1995, Helmut Kohl in 1997, Roman Herzog in 1998 - and in 1996, Otto R. Romberg. No head of state, no minister, not even an ambassador. 
Building positive relations between people - that is the work of TRIBÜNE and ?Against Forgetting.? This work will be successful. It must be, for we can only then solve real problems. 
* The following speech was held in November 1999 at the release ceremony for the German-language edition of the current publication by the Israeli ambassador to Germany and vice-president of Tel Aviv University, Avi Primor, who has since retired. 



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