|"Rafael Seligmann, publisher and editor of Jewish Voice from Germany, shows a copy of the first issue of his paper." (DAPD)|
By David Crossland
Spiegel Online, January 4, 2012
"An English-language Jewish newspaper was launched in Berlin this week with the aim of showing foreign audiences that Jewish life in Germany is starting to flourish. Its editor, Rafael Seligmann, 64, a prominent author and journalist, says Jews in Germany are abandoning their self-image as victims of the Holocaust and becoming more confident. He wants his newspaper to promote that by portraying how the community has grown and changed since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Then, there were fewer than 30,000 Jews in Germany. Most of them were survivors of the Holocaust, and their public role was largely confined to commemorating the genocide, making sure the Germans did likewise, and supporting Israel. The big change came after German unification in 1990, when the government made it easier for Jews from the states of the disintegrating Soviet Union to move to Germany. Almost 200,000 came -- which didn't please Israel -- and Germany became home to the world's fastest-growing Jewish population. Today, more than 100,000 Jews belong to religious communities, and the total population with a Jewish background is estimated at over 200,000, including some 20,000 Israelis who have moved to Germany. That compares to 600,000 before the Holocaust.
'I don't want Hitler to have the last word in German-Jewish history,' Seligmann told SPIEGEL ONLINE. 'I want to inform readers about what is happening to Jewish life in Germany. It's personally very important to me to cover the background of this German-Jewish communion that has grown over 1,700 years. I want to motivate people, and to show that we have this common history and we can resume it. Things are happening, we have Jewish writers again, of course not of the quality we had at the start of the 20th century, but things are starting to move. There are Jewish journalists, scientists, doctors, a resurging liberal Jewry.' The newspaper, called Jewish Voice From Germany will be published four times a year and its website will be updated every week. It has an editorial staff of 10 and an initial print run of 30,000, and was first published on New Year's Day. It says it has 150,000 readers in the United States, Canada, Britain and Germany. It is financed from Seligmann's own funds as well as advertising revenue and subscription fees, and the editorial office is in Seligmann's Berlin home. Its website says its readers are 'Jewish and non-Jewish disseminators and opinion leaders in the economy, politics, media, academic institutions, arts; global Jewish organizations.' Some 14,000 copies have been sent to the US and Canada. Recipients include all members of Congress in the US as well as parliaments in Britain and Germany, Jewish senators in Washington, rabbis in Britain and hotels in Berlin. The paper contains articles written by guest commentators and outside journalists, including non-Jews. Many of the articles are heavily laced with opinion. In the first edition, the front page story is written by the domestic affairs editor of center-left newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, Heribert Prantl, who is not Jewish. In it, he calls for a ban of the far-right NPD party. Seligmann writes an essay calling on Israel to recognize Palestine. Other articles include stories about the euro, Iran's nuclear ambitions, the rising number of Israelis moving to Germany and a bagel shop in Berlin. [...]"