BERLIN (JTA) – Germany is not about to loosen its immigration restrictions for Jews from Ukraine, a spokesperson for the German Interior Ministry told JTA.
But the government is keeping a close eye on developments regarding anti-Semitism in the country and will react quickly if needed, the spokesperson added.
The statement followed conflicting reports as to whether Berlin was planning to greatly ease its immigration regulations to enable Ukrainian Jews to come to Germany.
In a letter to Berlin Jewish community members on Thursday, Berlin Jewish community head Gideon Joffe applauded an easing of immigration restrictions for Ukraine’s Jews following reports of increased anti-Semitism. He said he had received numerous appeals from community members with family or friends in the region.
On June 17, the head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany had informed all member communities of his efforts on behalf of Ukrainian Jews, and included a list of measures to which he said the responsible ministries and authorities had agreed, in order to expedite emigration of Ukrainian Jews who wish to come to Germany.
This list of measures was repeated in the later letter from Joffe.
However, the spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, which has a department dedicated to Jewish immigration, told JTA that “a change in the requirements for admission is not planned.”
He said the Foreign Ministry had not found any general increase in anti-Semitic tendencies in Ukraine, but rather an increase in “hooliganism that affects the entire population and not specific population groups.”
Jews from the former Soviet Union, with the exception of the Baltic States, may apply as always to immigrate to Germany, he added.
The spokesperson did confirm that there was an agreement with the Foreign Ministry to expedite applications from Ukraine in general, and that an additional employee had been sent to Kiev to help with such applications.
“The Federal Government will continue to observe the situation carefully and will react quickly if there is a general concrete danger to the Jews of Ukraine,” he added.