Dr. Felix Eliezer Shinnar, a diplomat and businessman instrumental in negotiating West Germany’s reparations agreement with Israel in the 1950’s, died in Tel Aviv this week at the age of 80.
Born in Stuttgart, Shinnar emigrated to Palestine in the early 1930s and went to work as a financial consultant for, among other clients, the newspaper Haaretz. Soon after Israel declared its independence in 1948 he was sent by the provisional government to Rumania to negotiate fuel purchases. Subsequently, he was appointed commercial attache at the Israel Embassy in London.
In the early 1950’s, Shinnar and the late Dr. Giora Josephtal conducted negotiations in Holland with senior West German officials, which led to the reparations agreement. Israel had no diplomatic ties with Germany at the time.
Shinnar was named head of the Israel purchasing mission in Cologne where he supervised the acquisition of over $700 million worth of material from Germany for Israel’s industrial infrastructure. It included equipment for the Israel Electric Corp., Israel Railways, fuel and other raw material.
Despite the lack of formal diplomatic ties in that period, Shinnar held the personal rank of Ambassador and maintained important links with various sections of German official and economic society.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.