Self-organization within Jewish Community

1950

Germany

Activism & Resistance Identity & Belonging Religion

The Central Council of Jews in Germany is founded in Frankfurt am Main in 1950. In its early years, the political work of the Central Council is centered on demanding compensation for the surviving victims of the Nazi dictatorship.

Shortly after the end of the Second World War, the first Jewish organizations formed in occupied Germany, including the Central Committee of the Liberated Jews in the American Zone, founded in 1945, which played an important role in the establishment of the Central Council. At the time of the Central Council’s founding, approximately 15,000 Jews lived in Germany. In 2014, a total of 108 Jewish congregations with about 120,000 members belonged to the Central Council.

The Central Council regarded as one of its primary tasks advocating a policy of official compensation and atonement for the crimes committed against Jews by the National Socialist regime. Other issues would later enter the focus of its work, such as encouraging dialogue between Jews and non-Jews, fighting against persistent anti-Semitism in the majority society, or supporting the forging of closer ties between Germany and Israel.

With the immigration of Jews from the territory of the former Soviet Union beginning in the early 1990s, the need arose for an alternative to the more orthodox forms of worship they imported (See also: Opening of the borders in Eastern Europe and the USSR, 1991). This alternative was ultimately institutionalized with the foundation of the Union of Progressive Jews in Germany in 1997. Today, the Union has approximately 3,000 members.