Germany Now Turning Away Most Soviet Jewish Emigres
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Germany Now Turning Away Most Soviet Jewish Emigres

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The Bonn government has virtually cut off the continued immigration of Soviet Jews to Germany, a policy that satisfies Israel and is not unappreciated by the German Jewish community, which found its resources strained to the limit by the recent influx of newcomers.

The cutoff brings the policy of the former West Germany to bear over that of the former East Germany, which, prior to unification, had decided that every Jew who wished to come to Germany would be admitted and made eligible for government aid.

The new united Germany struggled with the problem, saying that only those with relatives here or who could prove German ethnic origin would be eligible for repatriation to Germany.

Under a policy adopted last month, Soviet Jews already in the country, estimated at 10,000, were granted legal status and access to government programs. Others have to apply for visas at German consulates in the Soviet Union.

Until the controversial decision, more than 100 Soviet Jews were registering daily at the government office, which was inherited from the East German regime. Bonn came under pressure from Jerusalem, which feared Soviet Jews were being diverted from Israel.

Many Holocaust survivor groups were also opposed to relocating Soviet Jews in Germany.

The local Jewish community on the other hand, anxious to increase its numbers, had been urging unlimited immigration for Soviet Jews. But its local infrastructure was also severely taxed by the increased demand and now seems to be relieved, at least for the time being.

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