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Half of all Germans have not met a Jew

A survey of more than 10,000 Germans has shown almost half have never had any contact with Jews, a result Jewish groups called “sobering”.

The poll, commissioned to mark 1,700 years of the Jewish presence in Germany, revealed that 46 percent of respondents – all adults – had never met a Jew or had any exposure to the Jewish way of life, despite the country’s 100,000-strong Jewish population.

Organised by the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference of Germany (ORD), the survey showed that 16.6 percent of respondents had a Jewish friend or acquaintance, 18.7 percent learnt something about Judaism at school, and 17.9 percent had visited a synagogue.

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While there was a greater awareness in the cities, the perception of Jewish life for 55 percent of respondents was “predominantly shaped by political and historical events”, with one in five citing the Holocaust as their frame of reference. Another 20 percent said Israel-Palestine was their reference for Jews.

In Berlin, 33 percent of respondents said they personally knew at least one Jewish person, likewise 35 percent in Frankfurt and 29 percent in Munich, according to the poll conducted for the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

Philipp Hildmann, a researcher at the foundation, said the statistics “show Jewish life in Germany remains abstract for many”, adding that “by concentrating more on the Middle East conflict than on the Jews in Germany, one does not do justice to the Jews living here in any way”.

An ORD spokesman said the results were “sobering”, adding that educating schoolchildren about Jewish life in Germany was an “elementary building block” to reducing antisemitism.

In the past decade, thousands of mostly young and highly educated Israelis have made Germany their home.

Source: Jewish News

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