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January 18, 1985 - Image 40

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-01-18

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Friday, January 18, 1985



I G 11 T E NIN


Staff Writer

A Southfield rabbi
travels to Germany and
finds the makings of a
possible Jewish

Above, Rabbi Arm is shown in front of the Jewish
memorial-chapel at Dachau. At' left, Rabbi and
Mrs. Joachim Prinz and Rabbi Arm visit
Judengasse Street in Rothenburg . Rabbi Prinz was
expelled from Germany in the 1930s.

Four decades have passed since
the Holocaust, and some 30,000 Jews
still call Germany home, despite its
tragic role in 20th Century history.
Surprised? So was Rabbi Milton
Arm of Cong. Beth Achim. With all the
negative images Germany conjures up
in the minds of American Jews, many
find it almost convenient to forget that
there remains a small but nonetheless
vibrant Jewish community there. In
an effort to refresh his memory and
learn more about this often-ignored
segment of the Diaspora, the South-
field rabbi joined nine of his U.S. col-
leagues last fall on a seven-day study
mission to West Germany.
Because there is very little con-
tact between Jews in the United States
and their brethren in Germany, Rabbi
Arm explained, "We have some mis-
conceptions about the age and the vit-
ality of the community over .there."
For example, the rabbi pointed to
the groundbreaking for a new Jewish
community center in Frankfurt, which
the American group attended. "There
must have been about .300 people at
this ceremony, including the mayor
and other city officials. But what we
found truly amazing was the number
of younger people in the crowd. I had
expected to see all 'greybeards' and
that wasn't the case at all."
In fact, Rabbi Arm said, when the
ten rabbis attended a special ceremony
at Frankfurt's West End Synagogue
marking the anniversary of Kris-
tallnacht (the November 1938 Nazi
wave of vandalism against Jewish
businesses and cultural institutions in
Germany), the highlight of the eve-
ning was a performance by a children's
Today's German Jewish commu-
nity is far different in its origins than
the 600,000 Jews who lived in Ger-
many before the Nazis came to power
in 1933. Most are East European Jews
who moved to Germany after the war.
They are not, for the most part, native
Germans who fled the country and
then returned," Rabbi Arm said.
The post-war German economy,
which was being rebuilt largely
through American resources, offered
them a chance for prosperity that
wasn't available in their native lands.
"I think the motivating factor for
their settling in Germany was eco-
nomics. The business opportunities
that Germany presented were un-
paralleled. That doesn't mean that all
of the Jews who moved to Germany
after the war became well-to-do. But a
number of these families have been
doing quite well financially."
Members of the contemporary
German Jewish community do not feel

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