A Jewish secondary school will open in the city of Düsseldorf in western Germany on Wednesday, and a Jewish high school will soon open in Munich, bringing the total number of Jewish high schools in the country to three, the World Jewish Congress reported. Until now, Germany’s only Jewish high school has been in Berlin.
Out of the 522,000 Jews who lived in Germany in January 1933 only 214,000 remained by the end of 1939. On May 19, 1943, Germany was declared Judenrein (clean of Jews), with no Jewish high schools. Now we’re back to three, and counting.
Some 40 fifth-grade students will make up the inaugural class of the newly founded Albert Einstein Gymnasium in Düsseldorf, the state capital of North Rhine Westphalia. For now the new school will be housed in temporary accommodations, with a new school building scheduled to be completed in five years. Some 90% of the new school budget is funded by the North Rhine Westphalia state government.
“We are convinced that Jewish life has a firm place in Germany,” Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the news agency DPA. Whenever there are enough students to open such a school, that’s “a great gain for the Jewish community,” Schuster said.
Schuster, a physician, was born in Haifa in 1954. His father David Schuster emigrated to Palestine in 1938, and both of his mother’s parents died in Auschwitz. The Schuster family returned to Germany in 1956. Josef went to school in Würzburg and studied medicine at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg. He became a specialist in internal medicine after training at the Juliusspital. Since 1988 he has maintained a private practice in internal medicine in Würzburg.
Josef Schuster is well aware of the risks Jews living in Germany are facing. He told the newspaper Welt that many refugees seeking to live away from the ISIS persecution nevertheless come from “cultures in which hate toward Jews and intolerance are fixed components,” and that as a result, “sooner or later we will not be able to avoid [setting limits]” on refugee migration into Germany. He said he feared that if the influx of refugees in Germany continues at the present rate, it will become “increasingly difficult” to integrate migrants and “pass on our values.”
Meanwhile, the 7,000 strong Jewish community of Düsseldorf, Germany’s third largest, after Berlin and Munich, have established the new school as a way to pass their values to the next generation of German Jews. The school will offer eight hours a week of Hebrew and Jewish subjects, which non-Jewish students will also be allowed to attend.JNi.Media