November 1, 2013 – New York – Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC Director of Interreligious
and Intergroup Relations, will address a Kristallnacht commemoration organized
by Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ARSP) at a Berlin church on Saturday,
November 9, the 75th anniversary of the fateful night.
This service at the Französische Friedrichstadtkirche church is one of many
annual services across Germany to recall the 1938 evening when scores of Jews
were murdered as mobs attacked Jewish property, including the destruction of
hundreds of synagogues, in what would be the beginning of
sustained open violence directed atEurope’s Jewish population by the Nazis.
“We must understand and
support those Germans today who reflect seriously about Germany’s horrific
history,” says Marans, who will be the only Jewish speaker at the Französische
Joining Rabbi Marans will be a group of 20 young Jewish professionals from
across the United States. The group, led by Marans, will be visiting Germany
from November 3 to 10, on a program sponsored by Germany Close Up, in
cooperation with AJC’s Department of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations,
ACCESS: AJC’s New Generation Program, and AJC’s Berlin Ramer Institute.
“AJC works in Germany with a large
variety of partners to retain memory as a building stone of cooperation in
Europe today,” said Deidre Berger, Director of the AJC Berlin Ramer Institute.
“It is critical to involve the younger generation in this dialogue, which is
key to Jewish security.”
This will be the fourth annual joint AJC-Germany
Close Up program focused on interreligious relations. During their week-long
visit the young American Jews will meet with German government and party
representatives, academics, journalists, Jewish leaders, and other high-level
officials and opinion-makers. Participants will visit a former concentration
camp, Jewish sites in Berlin, and Holocaust memorials.
“The AJC-Germany Close Up seminar
exemplifies AJC’s work as the premier global Jewish advocacy organization,” said
Rabbi Marans. “Participants will engage with key actors in Germany’s faith
communities to better understand the intersection of religion and politics in
“This program enables listening, learning, and
asking about the German-Jewish and German-Israeli relationships and how they
are embedded in a larger context,” said Dr. Dagmar Pruin, executive director of
both Germany Close Up and Action Reconciliation Service for Peace. “We see it
as an opportunity for young American Jews to reflect upon Germany’s past and
present alike. These experiences and the knowledge gained during these trips
are key factors in assessing one’s own view of Germany and one’s relation to
AJC has long spearheaded Jewish outreach to other
faiths, advancing interreligious understanding, and has worked closely with
partners in Germany to foster friendship and understanding between Jews and
Germans. Founded in 1906 to safeguard and strengthen Jews and Jewish life
worldwide, AJC maintains headquarters in New York and offices across the United
States and around the world
AJC began its work in Germany shortly after the end of World War II, reaching
out to key opinion leaders and educators as part of an effort to reinstitute
democracy and reinforce democratic values in Germany. In 1998, AJC opened the
Lawrence and Lee Ramer Institute for German-Jewish Relations in Berlin, the
only office in Germany of an American Jewish organization, to further its
long-standing dialogue with German leaders in government and civil society.
Established in October 2007, Germany Close Up: American Jews Meet Modern
Germany, is an initiative funded by a German government grant to enrich
transatlantic dialogue and provide Jewish American students and young
professionals in their twenties and early thirties with an opportunity to
experience modern Germany up close and personally. Germany Close Up is an
independent body regarding the organization and content of its programs.