Merkel praises integration of Russian Jews into German society

Other News Materials 28 February 2008 19:37 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the way Jewish immigrants from Russia and Eastern Europe were integrating into Germany's Jewish community during a visit to a new Jewish centre in Munich.

"We are very happy that we once again have Jewish life in Germany after the terrible history of National Socialism (Nazis)," the chancellor said, speaking Russian, which she learned while growing up in communist East Germany.

Merkel used the occasion to hammer on the theme of education to promote opportunity for all.

"We are an open country, but we can only be a unified country if we all have opportunity," she said.

During the visit to the new centre, Merkel met Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of German Jews, who showed the chancellor around the community centre and the nearby synagogue.

Merkel and Knobloch were later to hold talks on Iran's nuclear programme, which Israel sees as a serious threat, and on right-wing extremism and related anti-Semitism in Germany.

The Munich synagogue was opened on November 9, 2006, on the anniversary of the "night of broken glass" in 1938 when Nazi thugs attacked Jews and smashed synagogues across Germany.