26 March 2012
Social Democrat Peter Feldmann, 53, won the mayoral election in Frankfurt by a wide margin and will be the first Jewish mayor of any major German city since the 1960s, when Herbert Weichmann served as mayor of Hamburg. Feldmann, who describes himself as a “liberal Jew”, is one of the founders of the Group of Jewish Socialdemocrats within the SPD party.
In the run-off he won 57 percent of the popular vote and beat his Christian Democrat challenger Boris Rhein, the interior minister of the state of Hesse, by a wide margin.
Feldmann will be one of the few senior politicians in Germany that are Jewish. In his election campaign he emphasized social issues such as affordable housing. With a population of 700,000 Frankfurt is Germany’s fifth largest city and its main financial center. Frankfurt has one of Germany’s most active Jewish communities, together with Berlin and Munich. An estimated 7,200 Jews live in Frankfurt today.
In 1924, the city had the second largest Jewish community in Germany, after Berlin, and Ludwig Landmann was elected as its first - and so far only - Jewish mayor. The advent of the Nazi regime in 1933 brought with it boycotts targeting the Jews. A Nazi replaced Landmann.
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