June 16, 2017 — New York, New York
AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization, mourns the passing of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. He was 87 years old.
“Chancellor Helmut Kohl skillfully presided over the historic task of German reunification, and ensured that Germany was always a champion of European unity and the transatlantic alliance,” said AJC CEO David Harris, who met with Kohl a number of times in Bonn, then Germany’s capital. AJC was the first Jewish group outside Germany to support German reunification. “He was also a cherished friend of the Jewish people and Israel, and frequently spoke about his desire to restore a Jewish presence in his country after the devastation wrought by the Nazi Final Solution.”
Kohl was Germany’s longest-serving Chancellor, first as Chancellor of West Germany from 1982-1990, and then of the united Germany from 1990-1998.
AJC opened a permanent office in Berlin in 1998, an event Kohl celebrated.
“It is particularly gratifying to note that the network of German-American relations has, of late, also been extended by new institutions in Germany,” said Kohl. “The American Jewish Committee has opened its office in Berlin. It is good to know that this respected organization is now present in the German capital."
“Chancellor Kohl will be remembered for many things, including his pivotal role in the rebirth of Jewish life in Germany,” said Harris. In addition, AJC worked with Kohl to secure his approval for compensation payments to East European Holocaust victims after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.