The German city of Frankfurt on Sunday elected its first Jewish mayor since the Holocaust. Peter Feldmann became the first Jewish mayor of any major city in the country, in fact, receiving 57 percent of the vote.
Feldmann, 53, a member of the Social Democratic Party, won the election against the incumbent mayor. He will take office on July 1.
The new Lord Mayor-elect has visited Israel in the past; from 1979 to 1980 he learned the science of gardening in the Jewish State. He then returned to Germany to complete a degree in political science at the University of Marburg, later becoming a lecturer at the institution.
Feldmann has also worked with a number of German NGOs, and has served as a member of the Frankfurt city council. He was elected vice president of the SPD parliamentary group in 2004, and three years later co-founded a committee of Jewish members within the party.
He has described himself as a “liberal Jew.”
Frankfurt's previous and only other Jewish mayor, Ludwig Landmann, was a member of the German Democratic Party and served as head of the city from 1924 to 1933. He, too, considered himself a “liberal.”
Although he had spearheaded a massive expansion in the city's infrastructure and led the country in new housing projects, Landmann was expelled by the Nazi Party. He later died from starvation while in hiding from the Nazis in the Netherlands during Holland's “Hunger Winter” in 1945.