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.

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

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

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

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

"Such an exchange helps carry forward the German-Israeli friendshipinto 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 journalistichistory 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 returnedas an American soldier and helped to rebuild a democratic press in . 

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

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

Lala Süsskind, the head of the 12,000-member Jewish community, told TheJerusalem Post, "Those who were fortunate enough to know Ernst Cramerrecognized his enormous potential and were recharged by his inexhaustibleenergy, strength and inspiration."