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East German Leader Orders Rebuilding of Jewish Cemetery

The Adass Israel cemetery in East Berlin almost completely destroyed by the Nazis, will be rebuilt at the direct orders of East German leader Eric Honecker.

More than 100 persons, including survivors of the original Adass Israel congregation, attended ceremonies this week rededicating the burial ground. They were told by Klaus Gist, the minister in charge of religious affairs, that his government is committed to perpetuating the memory of Jewish life in Germany.

Honecker’s attention was drawn to the cemetery by Mario Offenberg, an Israeli who has recorded the history of the local Jewish community.

Heinrich Fink, an East German theologian, said students of the Von Humboldt University in East Berlin have volunteered to do maintenance work at the cemetery once it is restored.

The Orthodox Adass Israel congregation has been criticized by the larger Jewish community in East Berlin for going directly to the government to rehabilitate the cemetery.

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