Wurzburg doctor Josef Schuster elected head of German Jewry

Marcy Oster

(JTA) – Dr. Josef Schuster, a native of Israel and the son of Holocaust survivor parents, will serve as the new head of German Jewry.

Schuster, 60, of Wurzburg, was elected board president on Sunday of the Central Council of Jews in Germany; he ran unopposed.

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The group’s vice president for the past four years, Schuster succeeds Dieter Graumann, 64, who announced in October that he would not run for another term. Graumann was the first board president who was born after the Holocaust.

In a statement after his election by the presidium members, Schuster described the council as “a good roof” over the 108 Jewish communities in Germany, but “not the kind of roof that’s way above. … These communities are our foundation.”

His parents had met in a DP camp after World War II and returned with their son to Germany in 1956, two years after Schuster was born in Israel. The family traces its roots back more than 450 years to the region of Lower Franconia.

Schuster has been president of the Jewish community of Wurzburg and Lower Franconia since 1998.

Two new vice presidents also were elected Sunday: Mark Dainow of Offenbach and Abraham Lehrer of Cologne.

The council elects its six-member board, which then elects a president and two vice presidents.