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THE COMMUNITY GROWS

The community grows – influx from the former Soviet Union

The membership of the Jewish Community of Wiesbaden fluctuates greatly due to several outflows and inflows. The influx from the CIS countries changes community life and community tasks.

When it was reestablished in 1946, the Wiesbaden Jewish Community had about 300 members. Very few of them had been born here or had lived here before World War II. The congregation consisted of displaced persons who had no other desire than to emigrate to Palestine or the United States. Some, such as the Mandelbaum family, did stay, so that Jewish life could re-emerge.

Anti-Semitism and hostility towards Jews in the Soviet Union after the end of the Second World War

The number of members fluctuated between 1946 and the present, sometimes greatly. At the dedication of the new synagogue building, the Hessenschau reported 400 members. In the 1970s, the number dropped briefly to only about 100, then rose again to 319 by 1989. By 2021, the congregation numbered just under 850 members. This development is closely related to politics in the former Soviet Union. While the situation for Jews in the SU seemed to relax after World War II, by 1948 anti-Semitism had broken out openly again with the murder of Solomon Mikhailivich Michoels. Jews were again subjected to persecution and oppression. A confrontation with the Shoah did not take place in the Soviet Union. Between 1948 and 1952, almost all Jewish institutions were closed or dissolved. Under Khrushchev in the 1960s, synagogues had to be closed. Diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and Israel deteriorated visibly, especially as the SU supported Egypt and Syria. In this anti-Semitic and anti-Israel climate, Jews made attempts to emigrate. It was not until 1985 that exit regulations began to loosen under Mikhail Gorbachev. 1990 erIn 1990, the People’s Chamber of the GDR declared that it would grant political asylum to persecuted Jews, whereupon 6,000 emigrated to the GDR. In 1991, the FRG decided to extend the “Law on Measures for Refugees Taken In as Part of Humanitarian Aid Operations” to Soviet Jews. The dissolution of the Soviet Union was accompanied by anti-Semitism, so that hundreds of thousands of Jews emigrated. Almost 100,000 came to Germany as so-called “contingent refugees”. The first point of contact was the local Jewish community – as in Wiesbaden.

A colorful community life

With the immigration, the Jewish community in Wiesbaden has gained new, active members and also new tasks. A diverse, colorful community life has grown in the community. The office supports the immigrants – for example: in dealing with authorities, and in offering language courses.