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Background Report Jews in West Germany

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The number of Jews permanently residing in the Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin rose slightly last year – from 27,295 on January 1, 1979 to 27, 768 on January 1, 1980. The statistics, released in Frankfurt several days ago by the Central Organization of Jews in West Germany (Zentralrat) attributed the increase mainly to the immigration of Jews from Eastern bloc countries.

Other factors were conversions – a total of 55 persons converted to Judaism – and 80 births. The origin of another 156 Jews who contributed to the population growth was not stated in the statistics. The largest Jewish community is in West Berlin where 6145 reside, followed by 4931 in Frankfurt, 3920 in Munich, 1375 in Hamburg and 1248 in Cologne. Men outnumber women by 14, 462-13,306. The average age of the Jewish population in West Germany is 44.6 years.

According to official statistics from East Germany, only 900 Jews reside in that country, 400 in East Berlin and the remainder distributed among seven other communities. No data is available as to their age structure but most are believed to be elderly.

According to Werner Nachmann, chairman of the Zentralrat, as long as West Germany remains free and democratic, Jews can find a home here He observed, however, that there is still anti-Jewish feeling in Germany and it would be mistaken to believe that problems between Germans and Jews would resolve themselves with the passage of time.

Speaking in Hamburg, Nachmann said there was greater understanding shown toward Jews and Judaism by German youths who studied the Naziera thoroughly than among those who did not. He urged schools, public organizations and the media to deal extensively with the honors of the past in order to prevent their recurrence.

Nachmann referred to recent incidents which disturbed the Jewish community. In one, journalists expressed anti-Jewish views in a Radio Bremen broadcast. The other was a demonstration by Turkish workers in Berlin where signs were carried with the slogan “Kill the Jews.”

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