Jewish masters launched

November 25, 1994

The University of Potsdam has introduced Germany's first master's degree in Jewish studies with special emphasis on Jewish-German history.

The course opens just as racism has reared its ugly head again in Germany. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ignatz Bubis, the chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said that large parts of the population were starting to regard Jews as foreigners again. "Some 1,160 years of Judaism seem to have been swept away, just as if there had never been any Jews in Germany," he said.

Mr Bubis said universities had a duty to acquaint people with what they regarded as alien. Such incidents of xenophobic violence as in Hoyerswerda, Molln or Rostock tended to occur where ethnic minorities were hardly present.

Many people believed that Jews were an alien element in Germany society. School lessons usually only referred to the rise of National Socialism and the holocaust not the rich Jewish culture.

Mr Bubis has been awarded the Moses Mendelsohn medal by Potsdam University in recognition of his "efforts to promoted tolerance and enlightenment".

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