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October 15, 1993 - Image 65

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-10-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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three years, the city has invited
groups of former Jewish resi-
dents to return, at the city's ex-
pense, for a week-long visit to
their native city. Mainz is one
of several cities in Germany to
sponsor such reunions.
"They visit friends they
haven't seen; they go to schools
and speak to students, and they
visit the synagogue and other
Jewish sites in the area," relates
Ms. Brown.
"For most of them, this is the
first time since the war that
they've come back, and it's very
moving — it gives me goose-
bumps to talk about it," says
Ms. Brown, describing the wel-
come, the daily excursions, and
the farewell banquet held at the
Mainz Hilton hotel attended by
the mayor, city officials and
Jewish community members.
"It was really something spe-
cial — a wonderful event,"
agrees Jack Landau, vice pres-
ident of the Jewish community,
when I visit the Jewish Com-
munity Center at #2 Forster-
strasse, a residential street not
far from the center of town.

The small
community has
done its best to
serve the needs of
new emigres.

First, Mr. Landau had shown
me the synagogue, a modest
sanctuary with small arched
windows and seats for 100 wor-
shippers. A book-lined office
serves as headquarters for a
community that numbers over
200 and is growing steadily.
"It's grown so much that we
now have 30 students in our
Hebrew school," says Mr. Lan-
dau. That may not sound like
much — but this is a commu-
nity that started virtually from
scratch after the war.
Except for two survivors,
none of the members is Ger-
man-born. Instead, they've im-
migrated from diverse places —
from Poland, Czechoslovakia,
and especially from Russia.
"Three years ago, we started to
get Jews from Russia, and now
there are 20,000 Russian Jews
in Germany," says Mr. Landau.
"That's almost double the for-
mer Jewish population."
The small community has
done its best to serve the needs
of the new emigres. Its mem-
bers have sponsored three
young Russian Jews who went
for four week visits to Israel; it
has helped the emigres find
homes and even placed five
families in a large apartment
building owned by the JCC.
Mr. Landau is especially

MAINZ page 66

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