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.” When writer Martin Walser, receiving the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, called for an end to the Holocaust debate and referred to Auschwitz as a “moral cudgel”, Ignatz Bubis was one of the few who reacted publicly, accusing Walser of “intellectual arson” and of advocating a “culture of looking away and imagining away”. 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), returning ex officio as the paper’s managing director when he became Vice-President of the Central Council. 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 in 30 April 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. Since 2003 she has been Vice-President of the European Jewish Congress and since 2005 Vice-President of the Jewish World Congress. She was made an honorary citizen of Munich in 2005. It is thanks to the tireless efforts and commitment of Mrs Knobloch that the new Jewish Community centre and synagogue will open in the Bavarian capital on 9 November 2006. Knobloch’s priorities in the Central Council of Jews will include the integration of migrants from countries that once formed part of the Soviet Union.

Dr. Dieter Graumann

In office since 28 November 2010
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 Presidium of the Central Council of Jews in Germany in 2001. In 2006 Graumann was elected Vice-President of the Central Council. As President of the Central Council he is committed to maintaining the continuity of Jewish life in Germany and wants to make young Jews enthusiastic about participating in Jewish community life, to promote the integration of the immigrants, and, above all, to present a fresh modern Jewry.