BONN (Sep. 23)
The German Jewish community apparently has accepted the principle of quotas on Jewish immigration from the Soviet Union and is nearing an agreement with West German authorities on the number of Soviet Jews who will be allowed to come here.
Government sources said Sunday that the number would likely be fixed at 3,000 immigrants over the next four years, not including Jews who can provide satisfactory evidence they are” ethnic Germans.”
The government hopes the agreement will end the embarrassing public debate over whether Soviet Jews should be admitted to the new unified Germany, which comes into existence on Oct. 3.
The Interior Ministry has been discussing the issue with German Jewish representatives for the past month.
Ministry officials, who refused to be identified, claimed the Jewish community initially signaled a favorable attitude toward quotas.
They said they were surprised therefore when Heinz Galinski, chairman of the organized German Jewish community, suddenly rejected last Friday the idea of limiting the immigration of Soviet Jews to Germany.
Galinski, an Auschwitz survivor, told reporters in Berlin that the Jewish community would not give its blessing to quotas, observing nevertheless that the number of Soviet Jews who want to come to Germany was limited anyway.
The Interior Ministry claimed last week that 10,000 Jews applied for entry visas at the West German Consulate in Kiev alone.
But the Foreign Ministry called that an exaggeration, saying that barely 10,000 Jews from all over the Soviet Union have indicated a desire to immigrate to Germany.
Conflicting opinions have been expressed within the Jewish community here over the advisability of encouraging Jewish immigration from the Soviet Union. Some say the community should keep a low profile on the issue and accept only Jewish immigrants with German backgrounds.