German Jews elect new leader

Thursday, December 2, 2010 | by

For the first time, Jews in Germany have elected a representative born after the Holocaust.

The board of the Central Council of Jews in Germany unanimously elected Dieter Graumann, 60, to head the 60-year-old organization at its meeting Nov. 28 in Frankfurt.

Graumann, born to Holocaust survivors in Israel, succeeds Munich native Charlotte Knobloch, 78, who decided not to run again after four years in office. To honor her work, German President Christian Wulff presented the Highest Order of Merit to Knobloch, 78, at the presidential palace Nov. 23.

Graumann, who ran unopposed, told reporters he was “moved and touched” to have been elected to head the body, which represents about 110,000 Jews who are registered members of Jewish communities. An estimated 100,000 more Jews are not affiliated with congregations.

Noting that Germany’s Jewish population has soared since 1990, with the influx of former Soviet Jews, Graumann said he hoped to build stronger alliances between the postwar establishment community and the new immigrants, as well as to encourage the younger generation to identify Jewishly. — jta