On Sunday, a Demonstration took place outside the WIZO
Bazaar held at the Community Centre in Fasanenstrasse.
In shifts, members of a Committee distributed around 900 12-page leaflets
to those entering the compound; these booklets called for an end to
Censorship within the community newsletter "Jewish Berlin", and a letter
inside was signed by 13 members of this committee, including Gabbayim
and former Gabbayim and long-standing members of four synagogues -
Pestalozzistrasse, Oranienburger Strasse, Fraenkelufer and Rykestrasse.
printed inside were selected from those that had been
banned from publication in the newsletter, and included letters on behalf
of three synagogue committees as well as from several individual members
and others. On the rear cover was a draft form-letter to the
'Representanz' pointing out that they were elected on a platform of
"transparency and democracy", whereas this move to prevent letters being
published on such an issue demonstrates the reverse.
Demonstrations of this sort may be common in some countries but are
(still) very rare in Germany, and this one indicates the depth of
feeling aroused amongst several sections of the community at the
realisation that they are being totally and deliberately excluded from
significant decision-making processes. It almost does not matter what
the actual subject-matter is - what matters is that they feel
disenfranchised and are concerned that democratic structures within the
community are being eroded.
I was not a part of this
committee, did not ask for it, did not call it into existence, have not
supported it materially in any way, but I am nevertheless personally
gratified that certain members have the courage of their convictions and
are prepared to take formal, peaceful action rather than just grumble
This is a sign of healthy and adult debate.
Representatives of Press and Media were present; the demonstration will
continue tomorrow (Monday) afternoon. A Police permit had been obtained,
and the community's Security Coordinator informed.
Readers were also invited to attend the next Repraesentanz meeting on
12th April and register their protest there.