August 10th, 2005


Past and present Presidents of the Central Council of Jews in Germany:

Heinz Galinski OBM

1st term of office: 1954 - 1963
Heinz Galinski was born in Marienburg (West Prussia) on 28 November 1912. He trained as a textile merchant. In 1943 he was deported to Auschwitz, then to Buchenwald, and on 20 April 1945 freed from the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen. In April 1949 Galinski was elected as the first Chairman of the Jewish Community in Berlin. He died on 19 July 1992, having been an honorary citizen of that city since 1987.

Herbert Lewin OBM

Term of office: 1963 - 1969
Herbert Lewin was born in Schwarzenau on 1 April 1899. After studying Medicine he worked at the Jewish Polyclinic in Berlin, and from 1937 until his deportation he was senior consultant at the Jewish Hospital in Cologne. He returned to the medical profession after his liberation. Lewin died in Wiesbaden on 21 November 1982.

Werner Nachmann OBM

Term of office: 1969 - 1988
Werner Nachmann was born in Karlsruhe on 12 August 1925. He emigrated in 1938, returning to his home town in 1945. After his death in Karlsruhe on 21 January 1988 suspicions were raised that between 1981 and 1987, while he was President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Nachmann had embezzled over 30 million marks. Little is known about the whereabouts of this money, most of it interest from compensation funds.

Heinz Galinski OBM

2nd term of office: 1988 to 1992 (for biography see above)

Ignatz Bubis OBM

Term of office: 1992 to 1999
Ignatz Bubis was born in Breslau/Wroclaw on 12 January 1927. After his liberation from the camp he made his home in Frankfurt, where he was Chairman of the Jewish Community from 1983. It was Bubis who famoulsy said: “I am a German citizen of the Jewish faith.” Ignatz Bubis died in Frankfurt on 13 August 1999.

Dr. h.c. Paul Spiegel OBM

Term of office: 2000 - 2006
Paul Spiegel was born in Warendorf, Westphalia, on 31 December 1939. He survived Nazi persecution in hiding in Belgium. After the war he returned to Warendorf. As a young volunteer journalist Spiegel worked on the Allgemeine Jüdische Wochenzeitung (now Jüdische Allgemeine). He was running an entertainment agency in Düsseldorf when he was elected President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany in January 2000. Paul Spiegel died in Düsseldorf 2006.

Charlotte Knobloch

Term of office: 2006 – 2010
Charlotte Knobloch was born in Munich on October 1932. She survived the Nazi years with a Catholic family in Franconia who claimed she was their illegitimate child. After the war she returned to the town of her birth, where she married Samuel Knobloch in 1951 and gave birth to three children. Since 1985 Charlotte Knobloch has chaired the Jewish Community in Munich and Upper Bavaria.

Dr. Dieter Graumann

Term of office: 2010 - 2014
Dieter Graumann was born as David Graumann in Ramat Gan, Israel, in 1950. His parents survived the Nazi persecution and, after a time in a DP camp, immigrated to Israel. However, only 18 months later they returned with their son to Germany. After attending school in Frankfurt and Switzerland, Graumann studied economics in London and Frankfurt. He runs a facilities management company in Frankfurt, is married and has two grown-up children. He has been active in the Jewish Community of Frankfurt for many years and became a member of the steering committee of the Central Council of Jews in Germany in 2001. In 2006 Graumann was elected Vice-President, in 2010 elected President of Central Council of Jews.

Dr. Josef Schuster

Dr. Josef Schuster was elected president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany on 30 November 2014. He has been the chairman of the Jewish community of Würzburg and Lower Franconia since 1998. He has been a member of the steering committee of the Central Council of Jews since 1999 and was its vice-president from 2010 to 2014. Dr. Schuster has also chaired the state association of Jewish communities in Bavaria (Landesverband der Israelitischen Kultusgemeinden in Bayern) as its president since 2002. Dr. Schuster was born in Haifa/Israel on 20.03.1954. In 1956 his parents returned to his paternal homeland of Lower Franconia with him. His father, David Schuster, was the president of the Jewish community of Würzburg for many years. Josef Schuster studied medicine in Würzburg, specialising in internal medicine. He set up his own practice in Würzburg in 1988. He is married and has two grown-up children.