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Less Than 5,000 Jews in Berlin, JTA Correspondent Finds, Community Council Formed

Only 4,000 to 5,000 Jews are left in this capital today, according to preliminary estimates, out of a prewar Jewish population of almost 100,000. Most of them, as Jews of mixed marriages, had been granted certain privileges by the Nazis and were allowed to remain here.

A new Jewish community council, representing the combined interests of these Jews and those who recently returned from concentration camps, was selected today and will cooperate with the Russian military government, Dr. Alfred Warner, German Lord Mayor, and the municipality.

Unity between the two groups was achieved after difficulties arose between the existing Jewish organization, “Reiohsvereinigung der Juden,” which was formed during the Hitler regime to account for Jewish affairs to the Gestapo, and a new group consisting mostly of the Jews who had returned from Nazi prison camps. The newly-liberated Jews expressed a lack of confidence in the old organization, accusing it of not having properly performed its work.

As yet, no representative has been appointed to represent Jewish religious affairs on the Lord Mayor’s board. At present, Father Buchholz, a Catholic priest, sided by a Protestant minister named Gruber, is handling religious affairs for the entire city. Pastor Gruber was confined for three years in a concentration camp.

Among Jewish properties suffering least damage is a hospital which remained in Jewish hands throughout the Nazi rule and which did extremely useful work. In addition to being used as a hospital it served also as a home for the aged who were saved from deportation. All doctors employed there were Jewish.

A small synagogue inside the hospital is the only one in the city that remained intact. Although the majority of the synagogues in Berlin were destroyed by the Nazis, and others were victims of Allied bombers, a half-dozen, such as those in Iranischestrasse, in Weissensee, in Stadtmitte and in Tiergarten are being used, after an improvised fashion, for services.

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