Relaymedia

Germany's Jewish Community to Receive Equal Status

Dec 05, 2002 01:34 PM EST

Ever since the demoralizing event of World War II, the Jewish community of Germany is showing resilience as the German government have granted equal status to the main Protestant and Roman Catholic churches.

"This is a historic event," said Paul Spiegel, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, at a news conference attended by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. "That Jews live here once again in considerable numbers is a fact that those who returned after 1945 can hardly imagine."

Under the plan, the government will make a formal agreement with the Jewish council to increase funding of Jewish schools, legalize Jewish religious education in schools, and finance other Jewish institutions, such as hospitals and kindergartens. The plan creates a pact similar to one the government has with the churches.

The accord recognizes the rapid growth of the Jewish population in Germany from 30,000 in 1990 to over 100,000 today. Most Jewish immigrants come from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Before the Holocaust there were an estimated 600,000 Jews in Germany.

By Albert H. Lee
[email protected]