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The Jews in Berlin

I have just read an incredible book "The Jews in Berlin" by Andreas Nechama which relates the history of the Jews in Berlin from about 1100 AD till present time.

In the 1500s the entire Jewish population was expelled from the city. In 1671 the Great Elector Frederick "invited" selected (wealthy) Jews to relocate to Berlin - not however for altruistic motives but because he needed their wealth which he could tax as well as their expertise to improve the city's economy. My ancestor and his sons were the first of the Viennese exiles to receive their :Schutzbriefe" from the Great Elector and thus were the first official Jews residing in Berlin.

The book reveals the trials and tribulations of Berlin's inhabitants and then relates the period of emancipation and enlightenment. Of course it goes on to relate the period of the Holocaust and the destruction of the Jewish community.

The author finally narrated the revival of Jewish life in Berlin, the rebuilding of the shul and the influx of thousands of young Israelies who have made the city their home.

The book is a "must read" for anyone interested in German Jewish history. The author has written it almost like a novel and it is eaily readable.

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