Watchdog for Germany's Jews, Heinz Galinski, 79BERLIN -- A...

OBITUARIES

July 21, 1992|By Carl Schoettler | Carl Schoettler,Berlin Bureau

BERLIN — Watchdog for Germany's Jews, Heinz Galinski, 79

BERLIN -- A new Germany today is mourning as an outstanding national statesman Heinz Galinski, 79, the Auschwitz survivor who was leader of the Berlin Jewish community for 43 years.

Mr. Galinski, who became chairman of the Jewish community in all of Germany in 1988, died late Sunday night. He never recovered after a heart operation several weeks ago.

Mr. Galinski was a voice of moderation, a meditator between Jews and non-Jews in Germany, between Germany and Israel, between the German past and the German present.

But he never lost his vigilance against the rise of neo-Nazis or resurgent anti-Semitism.

He was a critical presence on the German political scene. He often made the nation's leadership and bureaucracy uncomfortable. He insisted that the crimes of the Nazi era be remembered. He reminded Germans constantly of their responsibility to the past. He spoke with the authority of a survivor of the Holocaust.

"Heinz Galinski was a determined and uncompromising fighter against forgetting," said Eberhard Diepgen, the mayor of Berlin. "He worked untiringly over the years for that memory and its reconciliation."

Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President Richard von Weizaecker will attend the memorial service for Mr. Galinski Friday.

"The Jewish community in Germany loses its spokesman and its outstanding personality," Chancellor Kohl said in a letter of consolation to Mr. Galinski's second wife, Ruth.

"Our land loses with him an exemplary democrat, an untiring fighter for humanity, justice and understanding."

Mr. Galinski led a Jewish community that now numbers about 6,000 in Berlin, 30,000 in all of Germany. About a half-million Jews lived in Germany in 1933 when Adolf Hitler took power; 385,000 in 1938, the year of Crystal Night, when Jewish shops were smashed and synagogues burned in a prologue to the Holocaust.

He became leader of the Berlin Jewish community in 1949, the year Germany was split into East and West. He was still in office when they were reunited in 1990.

Mr. Galinski was born November 28, 1912, in the west Prussian town of Marienburg, now Malbork in Poland. After graduating from high school, he became a textile salesman and then came to Berlin, where he was married to his first wife in 1938.

He was put to forced labor after the war started. In 1943, he was deported to Auschwitz, transferred to another camp, and then Bergen-Belsen, where he was liberated by the British Army a few weeks before the end of the war in 1945.

He was the sole survivor of his family. His first wife and his mother died in Auschwitz. His father died in police custody in Berlin.

He would later become instrumental in negotiating reparations paid by Germany to victims of the Holocaust and to Israel.

He remarried in 1945. He is survived by his wife, and a daughter, Evelyn.

@ A memorial Mass for the Right Rev. Cedric E. Mills, who had been rector of St. James Episcopal Church in Baltimore for nearly 23 years before becoming the first resident bishop of the Virgin Islands, will be offered at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the church at Lafayette and Arlington avenues.

Bishop Mills, who was 88, died July 3 of a respiratory illness at a hospital in San Pedro, Calif., where he had lived since his retirement in 1972.

Services for Bishop Mills, were July 7 at St. Peter's Church in San Pedro. He had worked throughout the Los Angeles diocese when he first retired, but later limited his work to St. Peter's as his sight failed and he was forced to memorize the services.

In the Virgin Islands from 1963 until his retirement, he built and enlarged churches, schools and church halls.

During his time at St. James from 1940 until 1963, the Layette Square Community Center was built and and the Terrace Apartments for the elderly were planned.

In 1948, he was elected president of Clericus, an organization of Episcopal priests in the Diocese of Maryland. A charter member of the Baltimore group of Frontiers International and a member of the boards of the Citizens Planning and Housing Association, Provident Hospital, the Baltimore Urban League and the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, he was a promoter of civil rights, including school integration.

Born in Hartford, Conn., he was a 1926 graduate of Lincoln University and a 1929 graduate of the Philadelphia Divinity School. In 1929, he also received a master's degree in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania and was ordained.

From 1929 until 1937, he was rector of a church in West Chester, Pa., and Episcopal chaplain at Lincoln University and Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. He also served a church in Plainfield, before coming to Baltimore.

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