Der nachfolgende Text stammt aus der Publikation "A Continuous Tradition of Dialogue and Tolerance: AJC in Germany" von Jeffrey M. Peck, Professor an der Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Die gesamte Broschüre können Sie hier lesen. In Kürze wird diese Publikation in deutscher Übersetzung vorliegen.
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) was founded in 1906 in New York by a small group of American Jews, mostly of German descent, who were already well established in America but deeply concerned about pogroms against their fellow Jews in Russia. It literally started as a “committee.” Today, one hundred years later, this leading American Jewish organization has thirty-three professionally staffed offices throughout the U.S. and eight full-time outposts in foreign countries, including a permanent office in Berlin, the capital of reunified Germany.
Since its opening in February 1998, AJC’s Berlin office, the Lawrence and Lee Ramer Center for German-Jewish Relations,has evolved into a unique crossroad where interested Germans can study, discuss, and become involved in the complicated issues that affect the lives of all Germans and Jews. As an extension of AJC abroad, the Berlin office brings the organization’s weight and influence to bear on matters of importance, such as antisemitism, democratization, tolerance, Jewish security, including that of Israel, and the quality of Jewish life throughout the world. In fact, many of these topics occupied AJC long before there was a Berlin office. While the shadow of the Holocaust still hangs over very positive relations between Germany and American Jews, AJC’s presence, today more than ever, helps bring understanding to all sides through education and dialogue.
AJC’s German connection has a long history. The interest and involvement did not develop overnight, but rather came about through sustained and committed attention over decades, which included many highs and lows. The relationship not only mirrors the changing domestic and international status of Germany, but also sheds light on the history of an organization which, even in the first decades of the twentieth century, led the way in defending Jews abroad from prejudice and persecution. While the main concerns of the prominent group of AJC founders were the pogroms in Russia and later the status of Russian Jews after the Bolshevik Revolution, rather than German Jewish issues, their initial commitment to vigilance toward the plight of Jews worldwide shaped an agenda that would carry on through today and be significant for the German-Jewish relationship into the twenty-first century.