The Central Council of Jews in Germany celebrated its 70th anniversary with a ceremony in Berlin in the presence of Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel.
About 130 guests attended the ceremony, which took place in the inner courtyard of the New Synagogue at Oranienburger Strasse, including numerous politicians from the federal and state governments as well as celebrities and representatives of other faiths invited by the president of the Berlin Jewish Community, Dr. Gideon Joffe. In order to comply with current hygiene regulations, the number of guests was limited.
The President of the Central Council of Jews, Dr. Josef Schuster, highlighted in his speech the great achievement of the founders of the Central Council, whom he described as the “pioneering generation”. Sr. Schuster stated that their courage to found a Jewish umbrella organization just a few years after the Shoah in the land of the perpetrators is still to this day worthy of respect, adding that it had been a ‘leap of faith’.
“Despite many antisemitic incidents such as the attack in Halle in October 2019, the Jewish community is again ready to give Germany, our home, a leap of faith, and we hope will not be disappointed, emphasized Dr. Schuster.
In her keynote address, Chancellor Merkel stated that she is pleased “that we can look forward to a flourishing Jewish life in Germany today.” However, she expressed concerns that many Jews in Germany do not feel safe or respected. “It is a shame and I am deeply ashamed of expressions of racism and antisemitism in our country today.”
The ceremony was designed by the violin virtuoso Daniel Hope and Berlin cantor Isidoro Abramovicz. The work of the Central Council of Jews over the last seventy years was presented in a twelve-minute film.
The event was broadcast live on state broadcaster ARD and can also be watched here in 360°.