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In a Post-Holocaust Era: Germany Welcomes Jews

Solveig Eggerz
Spring 2006

The Least Likely Outcome  
Everyone said it couldn’t happen. Jews would never return to Germany. And for several years after the Holocaust very few did. In fact, international Jewish agencies counseled against any return. A 1951 editorial in the Jewish Frontier newspaper stated, “The complete liquidation of the Jewish community in Germany by means of emigration is ... of vital importance to the entire Jewish people.”  
But today the Jewish community in Germany is the fastest growing such community in Europe. It is now the third largest, after Britain and France. The Jewish population in Germany peaked in 1910 at 600,000. The League of Nations high commissioner for refugees estimates that some 315,000 Jews left Germany between 1933 and 1939.  
In 1948, about 200,000 displaced Jews — most of them East Europeans — lived in refugee camps. Of these, 15,000 returned to Germany and formed the foundation for today’s Jewish community. By the late 1960s, this community had grown to about 28,000 Jews. But after that the Jewish population in Germany ceased to grow. In fact, by 1989, the year the Soviet Union collapsed, the Jewish community had shrunk to 27,000.  
In an ironic twist, the German government took measures to increase the Jewish population in Germany. It inserted a clause in the new German constitution guaranteeing those who were persecuted by the Nazis, or stripped of residency because of race, religion, or politics, the right to obtain German citizenship. This applies also to offspring and other relatives. This post-war government wanted a political system that contrasted with that of the Third Reich. Working with the Allies, it created a liberal democracy that guarantees civil liberties.  
The Contingent Refugee Act of 1991  
In 1990, before reunification of East and West Germany, more than 4,000 Jews immigrated from the former Soviet Union. In order to capitalize on this population pattern to increase the size of Germany’s Jewish community, the German legislature adopted the Contingent Refugee Act in 1991.  
The act exempted Jews from the many hurdles that immigrants face when applying for German citizenship. It also provided Jews an attractive immigration package, featuring language courses, unemployment benefits, health coverage, pensions, and assistance with rent. Isabel Schmitt-Falkenberg, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior, which oversees the program, states “Germany has a historic responsibility to accept all Jews who could make a better life here, and we have a responsibility to ensure they are treated well once they arrive.”  
Financial benefits are contingent on immigrants’ remaining where they’re sent under the act’s numerical formula that requires Germany’s 12 federal states to share the financial burden. As a consequence, Jewish immigrants are scattered across Germany rather than living in large cities with substantial Jewish communities, such as Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt. Germany has no hidden intention in thus scattering immigrants notes Olaf Glockner, a researcher at the Moses Mendelsohn Center for European Jewish Studies in Potsdam. “Before World War II, most Jews were actually in the cities, and this is reversing that earlier trend,” he states.  
Soviet Jews responded to German government incentives by immigrating to Germany in large numbers. Today nearly 120,000 Jews live in Germany, constituting the fastest growing Jewish community in the world. Approximately 12,000 Jews live in Berlin; 7,000 in Frankfurt; 6,600 in Munich; 3,500 in Cologne; 4,000 in Hamburg; and 2,300 in Stuttgart. This new Jewish community residing in Germany is 80 percent Russian, and its primary language is not German but Russian. The number of Jews in Germany has tripled over a period of 10 years, making this Jewish community the third largest in Europe after France and England.  
Central Council of Jews in Germany  
The conduit for government largesse towards the Jews has been the Central Council of Jews in Germany. Established in 1950, it is the umbrella group for the 72 Jewish community organizations in Germany and the clearinghouse for the Jewish community. Today the council has 90,000 members, while another 60,000 former Soviet Jews and their non-Jewish family members look to it as a source of social connections. However, this latter group of immigrants is not officially registered with the council because it applies the orthodox Halacha interpretation of Jewish law, whereby only those whose mothers are Jewish can be considered Jewish. In fact, the council has asked the German government to similarly screen immigrants for Jewishness, using the orthodox interpretation. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 established degrees of Jewishness. Today’s German government refuses to apply anything but the most liberal interpretation of Jewishness.  
It has recently tripled its annual allocation to the council, spending some $3 million a year now to educate new immigrants about the rituals and culture of Judaism and to train rabbis. Given the largely secular orientation of Jews from the former Soviet Union, the German government is in the ironic position of subsidizing the teaching of Judaism to a Jewish population that may lack interest in Jewish culture.  
In 2003, then Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder signed an agreement with the council placing it on the same legal level with the Protestant and Catholic churches. The council’s headquarters are located on Tucholskystrasse 9, former site of the College for the Science of Judaism.  
Ignatz Bubis, who headed the council for 16 years until his death in 1999, remained skeptical about the future of the Jewish community in Germany. Stating that he’d accomplished “nearly nothing,” he said he had wanted to “do away with these divisions — Here Germans — There Jews.” Fearing his grave would be desecrated, he asked to be buried in Israel.  
But the current head of the council, Paul Spiegel, takes a more positive view, stating in the year 2000, “It was not imaginable 55 years ago that there would be a Jewish community in Germany. It was said this was ‘burnt ground.’”  
Germany’s invitation to Soviet Jews began as an act of redemption by East Germany’s first democratically elected government after the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989. It was incorporated into the reunification agreement between the divided Germanys on October 3, 1990. Because immigration to the United States was difficult, and Soviet Jews were reluctant to go to Israel due to anticipated violence there, Germany became very attractive.  
In 2002 the German government provided a closed-up mansion to house a branch of the Jewish-affiliated, New York-based school, Touro College in Berlin. At Touro students pay $3,750 a semester and earn a bachelor of science in business with electives in Hebrew and Jewish philosophy.  
In the spirit of atonement, the government has paid $90 billion in restitution to Holocaust survivors since 1952 when it signed the Luxembourg Accords. Since 1960, it has banned anti-Semitic expression. In 1985 it made Holocaust denial illegal. Furthermore, the government has banned the distribution and publication of neo-Nazi material on the Internet, a ban which is hard to enforce.  
Germany’s Lure Concerns Israel  
Jews are choosing Germany over Israel. This is doubly surprising given the 40 percent unemployment rate among immigrants to Germany compared to only a 12 percent rate in Israel. Last year twice as many Jews from the former Soviet republics settled in Germany as in Israel, with Jewish immigration to Germany from the former Soviet Union hovering consistently between 16,000 and 20,000 per year. Today some 8,000 Israelis live in Berlin.What seems to attract Israeli Jews to Germany most is the government’s liberal attitude towards intermarriage and Jewish identity. Other reasons for Germany’s lure include a related culture, a temperate climate, and proximity to St. Petersburg and Kiev.  
Israel used to be the safe haven for Jews each time anti-Semitism resurfaced in Europe. Now the opposite is true. Many Israelis have second passports, just in case the conflict in the Middle East makes life there intolerable for Jews. Even during times of anti-Semitic incidents, Israelis continue to apply for German citizenship.  
Jael Botsch-Fitterling, founder of Kesher, a private initiative that assists Israelis in Berlin, states, “It is a great experience for young Israelis to see just what an open city it is — far removed from the experiences of their relatives. They are surprised at how self-critical the Germans are.”  
A Pattern of Jewish Residence in German-Speaking Lands  
Jews have lived in German-speaking lands since Roman times under conditions that have swung from protection to persecution and from freedom to expulsion. Yet over the centuries, Jews never entirely abandoned German lands. Instead, they responded to outbreaks of hostility within a particular German dukedom by moving to an adjacent one. Because of their 2,000-year pattern of residing in German lands—albeit often under trying circumstances—Jews only gradually comprehended the Nazis’ dedication to the lethal aims of the Final Solution. The present trend for Jews to settle in Germany indicates, however, that the horrors of the Holocaust may have been an aberration in a long-term relationship.  
Trier, the oldest German city, dating from 16 BCE, has evidence of Jews living among the Romans. Treves, the frenchified version of Dreyfuss, is a common name in Trier. On display in the Rheinische Landesmuseum is the oldest Jewish artefact — a 4th or 5th century Roman clay lamp depicting a seven arm candelabrum. Among Trier’s most famous Jews was Karl Marx, whose grandfather and great grandfather are buried in the Jewish cemetery.  
Documents indicate that Jewish merchants traded in Frankfurt as early as 1074. Later they engaged in the only occupation open to them — moneylending. In 1460 the City Council forced the Jews to move into a Judengasse, called “New Egypt.” Some 3,500 Jews lived in the Frankfurt Judengasse, an area designed to house 180 Jews. Its narrowest house was only 5.5 feet wide and 80 feet long. Frankfurt became a religious center in the 16th century, and during the 18th and 19th centuries the movements for reform and assimilation grew strong. After the Napoleonic reforms of 1807 had given the Jews civil rights, the Reformists founded the Philanthropin school.  
The German writer Wolfgang Goethe described the Judengasse in the following words: “The confinement, the dirt, the swarm of people ... made a disagreeable impression, even when observed only from outside the gate ... And yet they were also human beings, energetic, agreeable. Their obstinacy in sticking to their customs, one could not deny it respect. Moreover, their girls were pretty.”  
Among the 7,000 some Jews who live in Frankfurt today is David Weinberger, who works at the Sheraton Frankfurt, the largest business hotel in Western Europe. At age 23, he states that he’s been involved with Jewish activities all his life and that he’s never experienced anti-Semitism, including attending Jewish day school, serving as a leader of a Jewish youth group, attending Jewish summer camps, and attending klezmer concerts and lectures on Jewish topics.  
Just outside Frankfurt stands the former Offenbach Synagogue, which served a segment of the Jewish population of Frankfurt between 1916 and November 9, 1938, when the Kristallnacht attacks led to its closure. During the war, the Nazis used it as a movie theater. The desired “normalcy” of Jewish residence in Germany often takes a strange twist. David Lieberberg and two other Jews have spent 4 million Deutsche Mark to transform the Offenbach Synagogue into the Capitol Discotheque, which opened in 1998.  
Settled in the early years of the 10th century, Mainz was a center of Jewish religious learning, featuring instructors such as Rabbi Gershom ben Judah, “Light of the Exile,” (960-1040), one of the first great German rabbis. He directed the study of Talmud in Western Europe, unifying the religious learning of the German Jewish communities into a specific Jewish culture. During the Black Death persecutions in 1349, many Jews perished, including some 6,000 who killed themselves in the flames of their houses and synagogues. The Jewish community of Mainz alternated between freedom and protection and expulsion or massacre, typifying the unpredictability of life for Jews living among Christians.  
By the early 12th century, the Jewish community of Mainz formed a supreme council with the communities of Speyer and Worms, which set the standard for Jewish law and religious teaching in all German communities. In 1462, Jews were driven out of Mainz, then allowed back, only to be expelled again in 1473. Yet during the Third Reich enough Jews lived in Mainz for the bishop of Mainz to organize a group of people to help Jews escape from Nazi Germany. Among them were Gottfried and Elisabeth Gerster, whose son, Johannes Gerster, spent nine years in Israel as the Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s representative.  
Today few Jewish students are among the student population of 30,000 who attend the Johannes-Gutenberg Univer-sitaet in Mainz. Recently David Bernay, a student and a campus advancement associate at Hillel’s Schusterman International Center in Washington DC, was among these. He joined the Mainz Jewish community, which originated mainly from the Soviet Union, and discovered that not all members were equally religious. Visiting Weimar, Bernay discovered police tanks and guns outside his hotel containing a demonstration by a small number of right wingers. In the city center he found a much larger counter demonstration, some singing Hebrew songs.  
As the largest Jewish community, Berlin has seven synagogues ranging from egalitarian to reform to traditional orthodox. It also has a system of fulltime day schools, with more than 200 children in the kindergarten, 25 in the Heinz Galinski Elementary School and 350 in the secondary school; three libraries; two major Jewish museums; six kosher restaurants; bookstores; and Judaic shops; and a busy community center.  
Berlin has featured such illustrious Jews as Moses Mendelsohn, Heinrich Heine, Albert Einstein, Max Reinhardt, and Leo Baeck. During the Weimar Republic, Jews shaped the cultural world, ranging from theater, to art, to music, to journalism. Some 55,000 Berlin Jews died in concentration camps, while some 80,000 escaped.  
Many of the landmarks dating back to the pre-war vibrant Jewish community have disappeared. The magnificent Moorish-style golden dome of the Neue Synagogue, built in 1866 on the Oranienburgerstrasse, signified the comfortable presence of Jews in Berlin. Today only a small portion of the synagogue remains. A few, mostly Russian, Jews attend Reform services offered in a small sanctuary that survived Allied bombing.  
Jews began settling in Duesseldorf in 1418, but it wasn’t until the 19th century, with the introduction of the new civil liberties, that Duesseldorf Jews became merchants and bankers. On Kristallnacht the population of some 2,000 Jews suffered more than most Jewish communities because von Rath, the diplomat assassinated by Herschel Grynszpan in Paris, was from Duesseldorf. Only 58 Duesseldorf Jews survived and returned. However, the community today includes 6,300 Jews, mostly Russians. The synagogue’s kindergarten has expanded from 25 children to 65 and the youth center from 170 to 800.  
Binswangen — A Small Bavarian Community  
In the small Bavarian town of Binswangen, non-Jews have raised funds to restore the synagogue built 1836-1837 and destroyed on Kristallnacht. It was an early example of the Moorish design, later expressed in the Moorish dome of the Neue Synagogue in Berlin. In the 19th century over one third of Binswangen’s population were Jews, but since 1942, when the last three Jews were transported to Theresienstadt, no Jews have lived in Binswangen. The Friends of the Binswangen Synagogue raised approximately $1.5 million to restore the synagogue, which has been transformed into a cultural center which sponsors art exhibits, lectures, and concerts.  
Of special interest are revived Jewish communities in towns and cities in the former East Germany, where expressions of anti-Semitism were common under the communist regime. Dresden now has 600 Jews, all Russians. Non-Jews have restored a synagogue in the city. In 1349 the Jews of Dresden were burnt at the stake during the Black Death persecutions. The remaining Jews were expelled in 1430. No Jews were allowed to live in Dresden until the 18th century. In 1933 about 4,400 Jews lived in Dresden. About half left Germany before 1940 and the remainder were deported. The only survivors were a handful of intermarried Jews, such as Victor Klemperer, scheduled to be deported in February 1944. The Allies firebombed Dresden days before the scheduled deportation of the remaining Jews of Dresden. Klemperer was among the survivors.  
Synagogues have also been constructed in Leipzig and Chemnitz. In 1990 the Jewish population in Chemnitz consisted of only 12 aging members, but with the immigration from the former Soviet Union it has grown to 390. The Chemnitz synagogue cost $4.5 million and was paid for by the city, the state of Saxony, and $250,000 in local contributions. Chemnitz also includes some 600 Soviet immigrants who entered Germany as Jews but who are not members of the Jewish community because of the council interpretation of Jewish identity. Immigrants with only a Jewish father must convert or not take part in formal religious activities. Because many immigrants resent the imposition of Halacha, many Reform congregations have sprung up throughout Germany.  
Ukrainian Jew, Valeriy Bunimov, heads one such synagogue in Schwerin. Previously a site of the neo-Nazi movement and a stagnating economy, Schwerin now has a congregation that has grown from zero to 900 Jews in less than 10 years. Bunimov echoes the view that Jews tend to prefer Germany over Israel because of Germany’s relatively relaxed attitude toward mixed-faith families”Russians making the choice believe that it is easier in Germany for mixed families and children of these families. In Israel, if a Jew does not have a Jewish mother, they will not be treated equally, and in Russia there are many mixed families.” Most of the members of Bunimov’s congregation are mixed-faith families.  
Different Strains of Judaism Arise — Liberal and Conservative  
An example of the continued interest in Jewish culture has been the establishment in 2002 of a new liberal rabbinical seminary in Berlin, the Abraham Geiger College. The first liberal seminary on the continent, the college has received support from the Rector of the University of Potsdam, Dr. Wolfgang Loschelder. A successor to the Hochschule fur die Wissenschaft des Judentums, the college has the status of a regular institute of the university, and thus of the federal university system. This seminary is associated with the Leo Baeck College of London, the famous rabbinical seminary founded on principles of the Reform movement.  
Berlin now hosts different interpretations of Judaism, with the introduction of a conservative Lehrhaus (beit midrash). Established by Rabbi Gesa Ederberg, ordained in 2003 at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, the school brings Jewish texts to assimilated Jews. Its teachings are in line with those of Professor Ismar Schorsch — head of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Schorsch says of Germany, “It is a country that wants to do teshuva [penitance].”  
Rabbi Ederberg, who has served as a spiritual leader of a congregation in Weiden in southern Germany, cites a serious shortage of rabbis and teachers to serve the rapidly growing community. “The world Jewish community has not had enough time to understand what is happening in Germany. There is so much to do,” she states.  
And Anti-Semitism?  
“Germany is the least anti-Semitic country in western Europe,” states Anthony Kauders, a historian of anti-Semitism. He contrasts the strong anti-Semitic attitude that existed among Germans just after World War II with the feeling towards Jews today. This mood began to subside with press coverage of the war crime trials in the 1950s, culminating with the trial of Adolph Eichmann in Jerusalem in 1961.  
Yet outbursts of anti-Semitism have occurred in Germany, as in other European countries. Desecration of cemeteries and synagogues is on the rise. On July 27, 2000 a bomb attack at a Duesseldorf train station injured 10 post-Soviet immigrants. Six of them were Jewish. The incidents in Germany have been partly attributed to unemployed youth in the former East Germany. Others appear to stem from Moslems expressing anger over current Israeli policy towards Palestinians.  
Israelis are not only concerned about the increasing Jewish immigration to Germany. But what The Economist calls “the culture of commemoration” appears to be dwindling in Germany. German writer Martin Walser has spoken out about Auschwitz, saying it shouldn’t be “a cudgel,” a notion makes many Jews uncomfortable. Yet, despite these changes in German thinking, scholars tend to disagree with Jonah Goldhagen’s thesis that anti-Semitism is particularly endemic to the German character. Historian Paul Johnson describes anti-Semitism as a subset of racism, a phenomenon so common in human societies, “that it might even be termed natural and inevitable.” It occurs in layers, with the Arab-Muslim layer, dating from the 1920s, as the most recent layer.  
Johnson notes that “Hitler’s anti-Semitism, along with the street-brawling to which it led, was rather an obstacle to electoral victory.” While anti-Semitism was widespread in Austria and parts of southern Germany, in central and northern Germany, Jews were well assimilated and performed obvious services. “There, anti-Semitism had to be incited,” he states.  
In fact, an odd phenomenon is appearing not only in Germany but throughout Europe. Judeophilia — a fascination with all things Jewish, ranging from Klezmer music to Jewish cooking — is edging out Judeophobia. Ruth Ellen Gruber describes this in her book, Virtually Jewish: Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe, as a fascination with everything Jewish. In fact, the phenomenon is exuberant to the point of making her uneasy. She speaks of a “creepy touch of necrophilia” that highlights the “crass exploitation and commercialism” of this trend.  
And Normalcy?  
After the war, all Jewish cultural contributions related to the Holocaust. That has changed. An example is the award-winning film Alles auf Zucker (Go for Zucker), the first film involving a Jewish subject in postwar Germany that is not about the Holocaust. “Zucker” is a slapstick comedy about two Jewish brothers who have been separated for 40 years by the Berlin Wall. Highly ironic, the film contrasts an orthodox family from the West with a nonreligious one from the East.  
Film director Dani Levy described the film to The Forward as “breaking traditions in ways of looking at the Holocaust and Judaism.” Until now the focus on Jews in Germany has been paranoid, “a heavy weight of guilt and shame. For non-Jews to laugh at Jews was considered antisemitic.”  
Levy’s film even includes jokes about the Holocaust.  
“If you keep yourself untouchable, I think it raises antisemitism much more than if you put yourself in front of people’s eyes,” Levy explains.  
When the brothers’ mother dies, they are forced to reconcile and observe the weeklong rite of shiva in order to claim their inheritance.  
Zucker was an award winner at the Berlin Jewish Film Festival, the oldest Jewish film festival in Europe which hosts an 80 percent non-Jewish public. But it took a few years before Levy was able to sell Zucker to producers. His other films with Jewish themes include Meschugge (The Giraffe, 1998) and Ohne Mich (Without Me, 1993). In his films, Levy doesn’t try to infiltrate Germany with Jewish culture but rather seeks places to slip it in where it counts.  
“The most organic way is to integrate Jewish irony, psychology and humor into German culture without their even noticing it’s there. I don’t see a borderline between Jews and non-Jews. I don’t want to make myself different from German culture by making us different, because we’re not.”  
The concept of “normalcy” is constantly open to redefinition within the new Jewish community of Germany. Under such conditions, the question arises, Has this new Jewish community achieved normalcy of relations between Jews and the German government?  
If “normalcy” is defined as returning to the way things were before the Holocaust, the answer is no. But if “normalcy” allows for a new kind of Jewish identity linked with a gradual sense of Jews putting down roots again in Germany the answer may be yes.  
Their ancestors did not suffer under the Nazis. In fact, they are Jews who happen to live in Germany, not Jews who are also German. Those Jews considered themselves Germans who happened to be Jewish.  
Dr. Dani Krantz, a senior member of the council and a former Israeli, notes, “We feel that we are Jews, living in Germany, not German Jews. In fact, for many years Jews in Germany were sitting on their suitcases, feeling that this is just a transit community.”  
Peter Finn, in an article in the Washington Post, September 10, 2001, calls the immigration “an acknowledgement that there is again a Jewish home in Germany.” He quotes Albert Meyer, a Jewish lawyer in Berlin, “This new Russian immigration is a virtue. We were a dying community and the children of these new immigrants can bring a new intellectual vibrancy to Jewish life.”  
AUFBAU — New German-Jewish Publication  
An expression of the new Jewish identity in Germany is the new glossy version of an old German-Jewish publication, Aufbau. First published in New York in 1934, during the war Aufbau provided a platform for German intellectuals such as Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, and Thomas Mann.  
In 2005 it altered its publication with the apparent goal of pushing Europe’s German-speaking Jews into the mainstream. Aufbau means reconstruction and denotes a publication intent on bridging the gap between the generation of Holocaust survivors and current and future generations of German and European Jews.  
The old Aufbau “lived too long from its own myth. ... It didn’t make the change early enough from an immigrant newspaper to a newspaper of migrants,” Yves Kugelmann, the new editor of Aufbau, notes. The new Aufbau appears aimed at Jewish readers who are less rooted in the injustices and more oriented to a future for their children in Germany while remaining Jewish.  
Julius Schoeps, director of the Moses Mendelsohn Institute on European-Jewish Studies at the University of Potsdam, describes the old Aufbau as having served “a German Jewry that actually no longer existed. ... They need to be able to serve the conditions of the community, which has become completely different.”  
Andreas Mink resigned from a job with a large German publishing house to join the staff of Aufbau in 1997. He notes, “There’s this idea of ‘Don’t define us just by the victimhood and suffering, by the moral gulf between us.”  
Glockner, from the Mendelssohn Center, stresses the promise that Germany holds that the immigrants’ children will get good educations and be accepted into the society.  
Looking to the Future  
A panel discussion took place at the Sixth and I historic synagogue in Washington, DC, last year. It came to positive conclusions about the Jewish community in Germany and brought out new features of the constantly changing Jewish identity.  
Among the panelists was Georgetown University professor Jeffrey M. Peck, the author of Being Jewish in the New Germany (Rutgers University Press), He described an increasingly diverse and complex community that features a variety of ways to identify as a Jew, culturally, feminist, gay, or lesbian. “What we thought of as German Jews in the past doesn’t exist,” he said.  
Panel moderator Tom Freudenheim, the former deputy director of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, said that as a Jew he never felt uncomfortable in Berlin. But, on the other hand, the American melting pot does not exist in Germany. Despite the eased immigration laws, immigrants are never considered Germans. He said Jews choose to live in Germany “because they get jobs, because they marry someone, have opportunities there, or because they’re just curious.”  
In an interview with Washington Jewish Week (March 30, 2006), Peck said he wrote his book to educate American Jews “about the new Germany that has emerged since 1989, the country that has worked very hard to come to terms with its past.” American Jews, he noted, “often go to Germany looking for Nazis, but it is a different place than in the 1930s and ‘40s.”  
Sadly, unemployment among the Jewish immigrants remains at 40 percent even after they’ve lived for several years in Germany. The majority have advanced degrees, but these create a glut on the market. Furthermore, they’re trying to gain entry into a rigid, overregulated economy that is currently in a slump.  
Yet their outlook is positive, perhaps because it is not rooted in the injustices of the past. Deidre Berger, head of the Berlin office of the American Jewish Committee, refers to the community’s “sense of permanence,” calling it “a community of continuity and a community with a future.”  
An example of this orientation to the future is Bunimov in MecklenburgVorpommern, who was trained in Ukraine as an engineer but works as a communal administrator. “We came for our children. Our hope is in them,” he states. His two sons, both in their 20’s, attend universities and look forward to a future in Germany.

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