Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

With New Berlin Office, Aufbau Becomes 2nd Jewish Paper in Town

February 14, 2002
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Aufbau may have a new office in Berlin, but it’s not the only Jewish paper to operate in Germany’s old-new capital.

The Juedische Allgemeine Wochenzeitung, or Jewish General Weekly, is published by the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

Michel Friedman, vice president of the Central Council and publisher of the council’s newspaper, said he was not afraid of the competition and wished the Aufbau “great success.”

“There can never be enough voices in Judaism,” he told the Berliner Zeitung.

Irene Armbruster, director of Aufbau’s new Berlin office, said the Aufbau differs from the Allgemeine, which “is very much a part of this Jewish community and has a lot of service material for the community. We are still a newspaper for New York and just have an office here.

“We have a view from the outside,” she added. “And because the community is so diverse now, there is always space for a second newspaper, and maybe a third and a fourth!”

Germans are surprised to learn that she is not Jewish, said Armbruster, 33. But the Aufbau was always a newspaper where Jews and non-Jews worked together.

Among the paper’s early contributors were Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann, Lion Feuchtwanger, Hannah Arendt, Franz Werfel and Stefan Zweig. The publishers were ex-Berliners Manfred George and Ludwig Wronkow.

In the 1940s and 1950s, circulation reached some 50,000. Today, it is down to approximately 10,000, including 2,000 readers in Germany.

Armbruster said she hopes to build a new readership in Germany, but not only from within the Jewish community, which today numbers about 100,000

The new German editorial board member is the historian Julius Schoeps, director of the Moses Mendelssohn Center at the University of Potsdam and a member of the Berlin Jewish community. The Moses Mendelssohn Center is also home to the new Abraham Geiger College, a liberal rabbinical program that has not been endorsed by the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

The Aufbau’s Berlin office is located in space donated by a German Jewish historian. Armbruster said the historian has asked to remain anonymous.

Schoeps told reporters it was high time Germany had “an independent Jewish newspaper,” and said the Aufbau would not answer to anyone. But the paper’s connections to the progressive Jewish movement appear strong. Armbruster said many readers sympathize with the Reform movement, and some have supported the Abraham Geiger College.

Recommended from JTA