German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for more Jewish Germans to be active in political life.
Jewish life should be perceived more as a “very everyday part of our diverse society,” he said in an interview published in Cologne for the jubilee of 1700 years in Germany, of which the president is a patron.
However, the German state and civil society must ensure that Jewish culture and religious practice can develop freely and safely in the country. “In recent years, antisemitism, xenophobia, nationalism, religiously disguised extremism and racism have shown themselves more and more openly,” said Steinmeier.
Steinmeier called on the political class and civil society to take stronger action against antisemitism: “Nobody is allowed to look the other way. Only when Jews are completely safe and at home here will Germany be whole”, said the President.
The occasion for the jubilee is a mention of the Cologne Jewish community in an edict of the Roman Emperor Constantine of 321. It is considered the oldest evidence of Jewish life in Europe north of the Alps.
The festivities will start with a central ceremony in Cologne on February 21, 2021, which will be celebrated online due to the coronavirus pandemic.