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June 28, 1991 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-06-28

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JUNE 28, 1991 / 16 TAMMUZ 5751

For Jews, Berlin Remains
A City Of Harsh Memories


Assistant Editor


A White House
on the Mideast
after the
Gulf War.

Both kids and parents
were happy about
camp departure day.

ehind the beauty of
Berlin — behind the
famous parks and the
cafes and the quaint shops
that delight tourists — are
memories as deadly as
The large building with
impressive columns in front
attracts numerous visitors.
It is the Reichstag, the 1933
burning of which allowed
Hitler to become dictator.
The city that hopes to host
the Olympics in the year
2000 was also the site of the
1936 Olympics, where amid
running and jumping and
gymnastic competitions for
gentile athletes the Nazis
worked to build a more effec-
tive gas chamber, to accom-
modate more Jewish bodies.
The city that prides itself
on an ability to change and
to be progressive was, in the
late 1800s, a center of
tolerance. Yet in the next
century its citizens sat by
silently as thousands of
Berlin Jews were shoved
into trains and taken to
These dark memories, not
their pleasant facades, are
what many German Jews
remember about Berlin. And
because of this, they are un-
comfortable with the Ger-
man government's decision
last week to return the capi-
tal from Bonn to Berlin.
"Berlin brings back a
whole different era," said
Southfield resident Martin
Lowenberg, a German na-
tive who settled in 1946 in
the United States. "It brings
back thinking of the
persecutions, the atrocities.
It's not the best feeling.
When Jews think about
Berlin, right away we think
of the Nazis."
Mr. Lowenberg was born
near Frankfurt. His home
was burned in 1933 by the
Nazis. He survived
Kristallnacht and intern-
ment in a ghetto and a death
camp before being liberated
in 1945.
Today, he recalls the Bonn-
based West German
government, under the
leadership of men like Willy
Brandt and Helmut Kohl, as
calm and peaceful. Berlin,

he notes, was the city from
which Germany began both
World War I and World War
"It's a beautiful city with
everything to offer," he said.
"But to me, the anti-
Semitism there will never go
The largest city in Ger-
many, Berlin was the coun-
try's capital until 1945,

when it was divided into
East Berlin and West Berlin.
A Jewish community was
extant in the city as early as
The city that would one
day become a seat of Nazi
power has a long history of
uneasy relations with its
Jews. Members of the Berlin
Jewish community were
Continued on Page 20

Board To Review
Sinai's Future


Staff Writer


inai Hospital's board
of directors are plann-
ing a trip to the
bargaining table in the com-
ing month to talk about
keeping alive Detroit's 38-
year-old institution.
Discussions will follow
release of a report by the
Hunter Group, a health-care
consulting team from
Chicago. The report, an
assessment of the hospital's
management, operations, fi-
nancial and strategic posi-
tion, is expected to be releas-
ed Tuesday to the hospital's
trustees at a board meeting
on Tuesday. The report will
include suggestions for sur-
vival of Sinai.
Some board members have
indicated staff layoffs might
be part of the Hunter Group
suggestions. At the advice of
board of trustee chairman
Merle Harris, board mem-
bers have declined to be
interviewed since April.
Mr. Harris said no further
information will be released
until the report is reviewed
by the board.
Sinai hired the Hunter
Group three months ago
after the board in February
asked administrator Robert
Steinberg to resign.
Meanwhile, the board
postponed plans to launch a
national executive search for
a hospital administrator
while Hunter Group com-
pleted its analysis. Daily
hospital operations have
been divided among admin-
istrators, Mr. Harris, and

Chief Operating Officer
Larry Greene.
Rumblings over Sinai's
fate are not new at the
hospital. Like other health
care institutions, it has been
scrambling over the past
decade to remain solvent.
Intensifying problems at
U.S. hospitals are
skyrocketing costs and lower
reimbursement rates from
private and government in-
surance carriers.
Although the outlook has
not been favorable for in-
dependent institutions,
Sinai has been mapping out
its own survival plan. After
longtime administrator Irv-
ing Shapiro resigned in Oc-
tober 1988, the hospital
hired Mr. Steinberg, an in-
surance executive and
former chairman of the
board of trustees.
Under Mr. Steinberg's
leadership, Sinai focused on
bringing back the hospital's
Jewish identity and possibly
merging with Henry Ford
Health Care Corp. and the
Detroit Medical Center.
Each time, talks were called
DMC was the last merger
candidate. Yet many Sinai
allies feared a DMC-Sinai
merger might ultimately
close the hospital. Talks
with DMC ended after a
group of Sinai doctors in
December pushed in-patient
admissions to save the
When doctors formed their
coalition, which has been
meeting regularly, Sinai had
been losing about $750,000 a
Continued on Page 21

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