Key German Jewish supporter of Israel dies at 96

Shortly before his death from a heart attack, Ernst Cramer established a German-Israeli journalism scholarship program.

January 22, 2010 12:59
1 minute read.
Ernst Cramer.

ernst cramer 5858. (photo credit: AP)

Ernst Cramer, a German Jewish journalist and chairman of the Axel Springer Foundation who explored his country's relations to and the , died on Tuesday in , 10 days before his 97th birthday.

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Shortly before his death from a heart attack, he established a German-Israeli journalism scholarship program.

One of the strongest advocates in the for strengthening German-Israeli relations, Cramer wrote his last letter to the Jerusalem Foundation on January 12.

In Tuesday's online edition of Die Welt newspaper, Dr. Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the Berlin-based Axel Springer AG newspaper publisher, wrote that Cramer informed the Jerusalem Foundation that Axel Springer was sponsoring a 10-year scholarship program for German and Israeli journalists.

"Such an exchange helps carry forward the German-Israeli friendship into the next generation. That is first and foremost of importance," Cramer wrote in his letter to the Jerusalem Foundation.

Cramer, a prolific journalist, played a decisive role in the journalistic history of post-Nazi . In 1938, the Nazis deported him to the concentration camp. While his brother and parents were murdered in the camps, Cramer was able to seek refuge in the . In 1944, he returned as an American soldier and helped to rebuild a democratic press in . 

Cramer got into the major media through a meeting in 1958 with the legendary publisher Axel Springer. Cramer became part of the publisher's inner circle and he would later serve as deputy editor of Springer's flagship mass circulation daily Die Welt.

Cramer had close ties to 's , which awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Lala Süsskind, the head of the 12,000-member Jewish community, told The Jerusalem Post, "Those who were fortunate enough to know Ernst Cramer recognized his enormous potential and were recharged by his inexhaustible energy, strength and inspiration."

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