German and Jewish Organizations Cooperate for Humanitarian Cause

In what is being called the first joint Jewish-German humanitarian project since World War II, $120,000 in medical equipment will be flown to a Macedonian refugee camp for Kosovars.

The American Jewish Committee and the Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe, a social welfare organization connected to the Protestant order of St. John, announced Monday their donation of an electrocardiogram unit, a portable surgical suction device, an emergency portable respirator, a vital signs monitor and other basic medical supplies to the camp in Neprosteno, which serves some 200 people per day.

The equipment will be sent next week from Bonn following a ceremony expected to include speeches by German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, American Jewish Committee President Bruce Ramer and Johanniter President Wilhelm Graf von Schwerin.

The AJCommittee donated the money for the project from the $1.3 million raised by the organization’s Kosovo Relief campaign.

At a news conference Monday, Eugene Dubow, managing director of the AJCommittee’s Berlin office, said the project was another example of how Germans today react to “to an earlier and terrible part of their history,” the Holocaust and World War II.

“Today, Germany is living up to its responsibilities,” Dubow said.

Speaking for the Johanniter organization, Executive Director Andreas von Block- Schlesier noted the “basic ethical values that are shared by our organizations.

“We Johanniters are especially proud of the cooperation with the AJC,” he said.

The Johanniter welfare organization was founded in Malta in 1952, but the Order of St. John dates back 900 years ago to the Crusades. In 1099, after the Christian invasion of Jerusalem, the Johanniters established a hospital there for people of all faiths.

During the Protestant Reformation, the order split into Catholic and Protestant groups.

Last year, the Johanniters visited Jerusalem, where Block-Schlesier said the sins of the Crusaders had not been forgotten.

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