Central welfare office for Jews in Germany

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Central Welfare Office for Jews in Germany
legal form registered association
Seat Frankfurt am Main
founding 1917

president Abraham teacher
Vice President (s) Michael light
Vice President Sarah Singer
Website www.zwst.org

The Central Welfare Office for Jews in Germany V. ( ZWST ) is as a welfare association one of six members of the Federal Association of Independent Welfare Care (BAGFW). Its headquarters are in Frankfurt am Main .

Tasks and structure

In the field of social welfare, the ZWST represents the regional Jewish associations, the Jewish communities and the Jewish women's association. It forms the association of Jewish welfare in Germany and is their top organization. Around 120 employees belong to the permanent staff of the association, plus there are freelancers and numerous voluntary supporters. The association-specific model of the ZWST results from the Hebrew term Zedaka , the socio-religious understanding of charity in Judaism. The task of providing assistance in the sense of compensatory social justice is a "mitzvah" (Hebrew for religious commandment, meritorious act), one of the most important religious duties in Judaism. Organized Jewish social work is based on charity anchored in religious law.

The central concern of the ZWST today is to support the Jewish communities in establishing and expanding a stable infrastructure as well as promoting a diverse range of offers for all generations. This includes a constant expansion and professionalization of the socio-integrative advisory, support and further training offer of the ZWST:

  • Professionalization of social work in the communities
  • Advice and support for particularly disadvantaged target groups
  • Promotion of young talent in the Jewish communities, strengthening of youth work
  • Promotion of long-term integration and participation of all generations of immigrants
  • Strengthening networking in the Jewish community
  • Strengthening a Jewish identity, conveying a living Judaism
The facilities of the ZWST
  • Main office in Frankfurt am Main
  • Leisure and educational center "Max-Willner-Heim" in Bad Sobernheim
  • Spa home "Eden-Park" in Bad Kissingen
  • Branch offices in Berlin , Dresden , Schwerin , Rostock and Wismar
  • Advice center in Potsdam, integration center "Kibuz" in Potsdam
  • "Omanut" art studio in Berlin
  • Competence center for prevention and empowerment in Berlin
  • Meeting point for survivors of the Shoah in Frankfurt am Main

The main sponsors and cooperation partners of the ZWST are the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth , the German TV Lottery , the Glücksspirale , Aktion Mensch , the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (EVZ) and the Central Council of Jews in Germany .

Youth Department

The work of the youth department includes the support and promotion of the young Jewish generation:

  • Training and advanced training series for young people for a commitment in the Jewish communities (e.g. running a youth center), training of youth workers (Hebrew: "Madrichim") and youth leaders (Hebrew: "Roshim")
  • Organization of holiday camps (Hebrew: "Machanot") for different age groups in Bad Sobernheim, Italy, Spain and Israel. In the seminar series for Madrichim, the participants are taught how to organize professional programs within the framework of the Machanot and to take responsibility.
  • Organization of a specific offer for young adults (project 18+)
  • Organization of a specific offer for young families
  • Offers from the Pedagogical Center (print and audiovisual media, Hadracha online portal, Talmud Israeli)

In addition, the ZWST organizes other events and seminars for networking, strengthening and further education of the young Jewish generation. One example is the Jewrovision music competition initiated by the ZWST in 2002 , which is based on the Eurovision Song Contest .

Social department

The work of the social department includes the promotion of intercultural and social skills in Jewish contexts:

  • Training and further education for social workers and social workers (general seminar series, training of dementia supporters, promotion of psycho-social counseling)
  • Further training of multipliers, promotion of contact and exchange between the social departments of Jewish communities
  • Promotion of voluntary work (senior clubs , dance, kosher cuisine, Chewra Kadischa , Bikkur Cholim)
  • Senior work (organization of educational stays in the "Eden-Park" health resort, promotion of voluntary work, offers for people with dementia and their relatives)
  • Advice and support for survivors of the Holocaust, support for "meeting points" in the Jewish communities, organization of international specialist conferences
  • Inclusion project "Gesher": Offers for people with disabilities and their relatives
  • Migration counseling for adults (MBE)
  • The ZWST acts as the central office of the Federal Volunteer Service (BFD). The social department coordinates and supports the deployment of federal volunteers and organizes educational support.
Cross-departmental offers and projects
  • The ZWST coordinates the German-Israeli Voluntary Service (DIFD)
  • The ZWST provides humanitarian aid as part of the " Aktion Deutschland Hilft " alliance
  • The ZWST supports refugee aid in Germany and internationally in cooperation with its partner organization IsraAID


The ZWST was founded in Berlin in 1917 as a central welfare office for German Jews in order to coordinate the various social institutions and welfare organizations of the Jewish community as an umbrella organization. The external impetus was Bertha Pappenheim (1859–1936), the founder and chairwoman of the Jewish Women's Association since 1904 . At the time of National Socialism , the ZWST was forcibly dissolved in 1939.

In 1951, the association was re-established under its current name Zentralwohlfahrtsstelle der Juden in Deutschland (ZWST) in Frankfurt am Main - primarily to alleviate the plight of Holocaust survivors . The ZWST literally began its work as a one-man operation. The men from the "first hour" were Berthold Simonsohn , Max Willner and Alfred Weichselbaum, who successively headed the ZWST. Heinz Galinski was chairman for many years from 1961 to 1989.

In 1953 the social department of the ZWST was established, a short time later the youth department. The main aim of the work was to rebuild the Jewish community in Germany. Since the smaller Jewish communities had only a few trained social workers available, the ZWST had to contribute to the qualification of the community's employees from the start. Education and training in the social field is still one of the main focuses of the ZWST today.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the tasks and structure of the ZWST changed significantly due to the immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union. Today the integration of Jewish immigrants is one of the central tasks of the ZWST.

The ZWST has been cooperating with the Anti-Semitism Research and Information Center in Berlin since September 2016 .

The exhibition 100 years of ZWST

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the ZWST, the exhibition 100 Years ZWST - Leading Personalities from 100 Years was conceived in 2017 . Thereby u. a. 33 key people from the ZWST were also honored with a characteristic quote and biographical comments on their lives and actions, each with their own poster. The professor for social education , Sabine Hering , says: "The exhibition wants to show the entire development of the ZWST in good and bad times using these key people." The exhibition is designed as a traveling exhibition. Andreas Wolter , Mayor of Cologne , believes that the exhibition “impressively shows the anchoring of the ZWST in society.” He also emphasized: “In times when so much anti-Semitism is emerging, we have to stand together and show solidarity.” In February 2018 the exhibition was shown for the first time in a Jewish community, in the community hall of the Cologne synagogue community .

Line (incomplete)

Chairman director
1926–1939 Leo Baeck Jacob Segall (Managing Director)
1927–1934 Friedrich Ollendorf (managing director)
Jeanette Wolff (Honorary Chairwoman)
1951–1961 Berthold Simonsohn
1960–1979 Max Willner
1961 - 1989 Heinz Galinski 1979–1984 Alfred Weichselbaum
1989-2000 Paul Spiegel 1987– Benjamin Bloch (Managing Director)
2000 - Abraham teacher

See also


  • Franz Goldmann: Death and causes of death among the Berlin Jews. Reich representation of the Jews in Germany ; Department: Central Welfare Office, Berlin 1937, DNB 993187633 .
  • Guide to Jewish welfare in Germany. Edited by the Central Welfare Office of German Jews. Issued April 1928, OCLC 246193851 . Arranged by Bella Schlesinger. Foreword Baeck.
  • Max Kreutzberger: welfare and social policy. A guide through the most important German laws for hand use for Jewish welfare. (= Writings of the Central Welfare Office of German Jews. 3). Central Welfare Office of German Jews, Berlin 1929, OCLC 42022104 .
  • Bertold Scheller: The Central Welfare Office. The Jewish welfare association in Germany. A self-expression. Edited and published by Zentralwohlfahrtsstelle der Juden in Deutschland, 1987.
  • Guide through the Jewish community administration and welfare in Germany. Ed., Verlag Zentralwohlfahrtsstelle der Deutschen Juden Berlin-Charlottenburg. Manufactured by Ernst Cassirer , Berlin 1932–1933.
  • Sandra Schönauer: "Not a run-of-the-mill job, but a challenge" An interview with Benjamin Bloch, in Sabine Hering ed., With Sandra Schönauer: Jewish welfare in the mirror of biographies. Series of publications History of Jewish Welfare in Germany, 2nd ed. Hering, Gudrun Maierhof, Ulrich Stascheit. Fachhochschulverlag, Frankfurt 2006, ISBN 3-936065-80-2 , pp. 102–113 (with photo)
  • 100 years of the Central Welfare Office for Jews in Germany (1917–2017). Breaks and continuities. Ed .: Jewish Welfare Working Group, Steinheim Institute, ZWST. Editing: Sabine Hering, Harald Lordick, Gudrun Maierhof, Gerd Stecklina. Fachhochschulverlag, Frankfurt 2017, ISBN 978-3-943787-87-0 .
  • Shoah - escape - migration. Multiple trauma and its effects. Ed .: Central Welfare Office of Jews in Germany (ZWST). Concept and editing: Dr. Noemi Staszewski, Prof. Dr. Doron Kiesel. Hentrich & Hentrich, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-95565-260-9 .
  • Dealing with loss and grief in Judaism. Ed .: Stephan M. Probst. German English. Hentrich & Hentrich, Berlin, 2018, ISBN 978-3-95565-247-0 . In it: Foreword by A. Lehrer, President of the ZWST, in it: L. Karwin (ZWST), The training and preparation for voluntary work in the Chewra Kadischa through the ZWST seminars and implementation in the Jewish communities in Germany, (p. 120 f)

Web links


  1. ^ Central Welfare Office of Jews in Germany. Accessed June 5, 2020 .
  2. ^ Central Welfare Office of Jews in Germany. Accessed June 5, 2020 .
  3. Self-presentation of the ZWST. Ed .: ZWST, Public Relations, 2018.
  4. Ulrike Countess von Hoensbroech : Social and Competent / Cologne - The exhibition 100 years ZWST goes on a journey through the communities ; in Jüdische Allgemeine No. 8/18 of February 22, 2018, p. 10 (online)
  5. With appendix: Cases from practice
  6. Bloch had been youth officer at the ZWST since 1974, and managing director of the ZWST from 1987 to 2018