Jewish Group’s Berlin Branch Aiding German Turkish Group

In an act of support for the largest community of Turks outside Turkey, the Berlin branch of the American Jewish Committee is donating $25,000 to a Turkish group to aid victims of last week’s earthquake.

In all, the American Jewish Committee is giving $250,000 to the relief effort.

“This is a great sign from the American Jews and the Berlin Jews,” said Kenan Kolat, general secretary of the Turkish Union. “It is not only about money, it is about moral support.”

Germany’s Turkish population of 2.2 million leads some to call it one of Turkey’s largest cities. Some 170,000 of them live in Berlin — a city of 3.8 million — making the Turkish community there about the same size as Berlin’s pre-World War II Jewish population.

Kolat said several thousand Turkish Berliners have flown to Turkey in the past several days. Airlines are struggling to keep up with demands. Meanwhile, his group is helping disseminate information about loved ones via the Internet.

“We know that many Turkish-born Germans and Turkish citizens living in Germany have suffered tremendous personal losses,” said Eugene Dubow, managing director of the AJCommittee’s Berlin office.

“This donation is a sign of our heartfelt condolences for those affected by this tragedy.”

Dubow said it is “important for the Turkish community here to know that the American Jewish community is sympathetic and is trying to help. Secondly, we think it is important for our German friends to hear about interethnic cooperation.”

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