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UJA Group Sees Democracy Growing in Germany, Sympathy for Israel

A 20-man United Jewish Appeal delegation completed today an eight-day study of conditions in Germany in the first visit ever made to Germany by a UJA group.

The mission said it believed that a “democratic seed” had been planted and was growing in West Germany, and that the well-being of the 30,000 Jews now resident there would be served. It also agreed that the West German Government had no intention of forgetting the Nazi atrocities against European Jewry, and that the German Jewish communities had a right to live in Germany and should be considered part of world Jewry. The mission reported it had found among both the Government and the German Jewish communities a great interest and sympathy for Israel and for practical work on behalf of Israel.

The mission members offered those impressions for American Jewry as they departed for Geneva to rejoin the other members of the current UJA mission. They had met with key officials of the federal and state governments, and with mayors of Bonn, Dusseldorf, Hamburg and other cities. They had also visited both East and West Berlin and the site of the Bergen-Belsen death camp.

They said that some of the officials told them that feelings of guilt and shame still prevailed over the Nazi mass murders and, at the same time, appealed for Jewish understanding of the efforts which the government was making to educate Germans for democracy. Mission members said they were shown school texts in which Nazi atrocities against European Jewry were described in words and pictures of the Hitler period, and in which specific reference was made to the Nazi slaughter of 6,000,000 Jews.

In a related development, Dr. Nahum Goldmann disclosed that West Berlin’s Mayor Willy Brandt told him yesterday he was willing to make available for use as a Jewish-sponsored center for the study of Nazism the building where the Nazis plotted the mass murder of European Jewry. Dr. Goldmann came here to discuss the project, for which a private founding committee was set up last month. The building is a villa in Wannsee, a West Berlin suburb, where SS Gen. Reinhard Heydrich and SS Col Adolf Eichmann met with other Nazis in 1942, and laid plans to kill all 11,000,000 European Jews.

The center would study and collect data not only on the Nazi handling of Jews but also on all aspects of the Nazi ideology and history, Dr. Goldmann said. He added that the center will be financed through funds from individual donors and foundations.

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