Murder of German Jewish Leader Sparks Death Threats to Others

The murder of a Jewish community leader in Erlangen, Bavaria, on Dec. 19 has touched off a series of death threats to Jewish leaders in other parts of West Germany. The chairmen of the Jewish communities in Nuremberg and Hamburg reported being harassed by anonymous telephone callers warning that “the execution of Jews will continue.”

Police are still investigating the fatal shootings of Shlomo Levin, 69, chairman of the Association for German-Jewish Cooperation and his friend, Frida Poeschke, 57, widow of an anti-Nazi activist, at the latter’s home nine days ago. They have not established whether the crime was racially or politically motivated, although that was the initial supposition of the police.

It was learned, meanwhile, that Levin had been removed from office last year as chairman of the Jewish community in Nuremberg after a long series of quarrels. The German news media has given the case extensive coverage, especially Levin’s alleged contacts with Israel where he has a family. The Israeli Embassy in Bonn denied, rumors that he had been a special aide of former Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan. Some of the speculation is based on Levin’s own accounts which are said to have been exaggerated.

The murders have alarmed the 300-member Jewish community in Nuremberg, near Erlangen and local leaders are attempting to maintain calm and see to it that security is guaranteed.

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