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6 Elul 5759 - August 18, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Head of German Community Buried in Israel

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Ignatz Bubis, chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany since 1992, was buried in Israel in accordance with his wishes after he passed away last Friday. He feared his grave would be desecrated by neo-Nazis if buried in Germany, as was the case with the gravesite of his predecessor, Heinz Galinsky.

Bubis was eulogized by non-Jewish and Jewish leaders all across Germany, as well as by Jewish leaders around the world.

Lord Immanuel Jakobovits, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said, "Ignatz Bubis was one of the most capable and influential Jewish communal leaders in the world today." He noted that only a month ago he helped the Conference in its efforts to establish a beis din in Germany.

Johannes Rau, the president of Germany, attended the funeral in Tel Aviv. He said that Bubis fought so that German history should not cast its shadow over the future, and called him "a German patriot."

Unlike his predecessor as head of the German community, Bubis was seen not as an outsider who saw it as his task to constantly remind the Germans of their past, but as a Jewish German citizen. Nonetheless, he never hesitated to protect and defend Jewish rights in Germany.

During the period he led the German Jewish community it expanded considerably, mainly due to immigration from Eastern Europe, growing from some 40,000 souls to nearly 100,000. The German state has made it easier for Jews, especially those from the former Soviet Union, to enter Germany and to settle there. Few of the newcomers have any interest in anything Jewish -- many are intermarried and/or of dubious religion -- but many do worry about antisemitism. They were happy with Bubis' approach, since he fought against antisemitism without demanding any Jewish identity. Religious Jews in Germany sometimes complained that Bubis favored the Reform when there were conflicts.

Ignatz Bubis was born in January, 1927 in Breslau, which was then a German city. He was transferred to a Polish ghetto in 1941 and from there to a Nazi work camp. He lost his father and two of his brothers in the Holocaust.

After the war he lived in various cities before settling in Frankfurt where he dealt in diamonds and real estate. He entered politics in 1969, and was a member of the Frankfurt Jewish Community Council since 1983. With 6,000 Jews, Frankfurt is the second largest Jewish community in Germany, after Berlin.

Ironically, at the end of his funeral in Tel Aviv, his grave was desecrated, as a 52 year old man poured black paint over the fresh grave, hurling various accusations at the buried deceased.

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