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News Brief

May 1, 2006
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The leader of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Paul Spiegel, died Sunday. Spiegel, who was 68, had been hospitalized in Dusseldorf with cancer. As the head of the council for the past several years, Spiegel represented one of Europe’s largest Jewish populations, numbering more than 100,000 members. Born in Warendorf, Germany, in 1937, Spiegel was hidden from the Nazis by Belgian Catholic farmers. In 1945, he returned to his home in Germany, he said, and decided to stay due to the actions of his neighbors, who had concealed texts for a local synagogue from the Nazis. Spiegel signed an agreement with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in 2003 that gave the Jewish community equal legal standing with the country’s main churches and annual government support of 3 million euros, or $3.8 million. In a statement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel remembered Spiegel as “an impressive personality, who campaigned with great passion and all his energy for a good future for the Jewish community in Germany.”

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