Berlin Jewish museum taps new director

Berlin’s Jewish museum selected as its new leader a non-Jewish scholar of Jewish studies.

Peter Schafer, a German academic who led Princeton University’s Judaic studies program, will take the reins of the Jewish Museum Berlin on Sept. 1, according to an announcement made June 20.

Schafer will succeed W. Michael Blumenthal, a German-born Jewish former U.S. treasury secretary under President Jimmy Carter.

Blumenthal was appointed in 1997 to be the director of the Jewish Museum Berlin, which opened to the public in 2001 in a dramatic building designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. The museum has about 700,000 visitors annually.

Blumenthal, 88, said he had been considering passing the torch and that the right moment came when Schafer retired as an academic. Schafer had previously taught at German universities. — jta