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tv   Mosaic  CBS  July 23, 2017 5:00am-5:31am PDT

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good morning and welcome to mosaic. i'm rabbi eric weiss and honored to be your host. we are engaged in a great and deep conversation about how we care for one another from our neighbor to our neighborhood, too, indeed, the world. there is a core question about the ways in which we care for one another and we want to take the conversation to a deeper and broader level by introducing new to the console of germany with a different conversation about the jewish community and germany. welcome consul general. >> let's ask basic questions.
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>> the consul general is responsible for eight in the u.s. and we have our embassy in u.s. and we have our councils who do the same things the msc does but in their jurisdiction, and in san francisco, it's quite a big one. we have washington, oregon, alaska and down to hawaii. >> you cover the western and far west of the u.s.? >> absolutely. we spit this -- we split this with the rest. >> you are part of the court of germany? >> and diplomatic service, there is no distinguish made between consul work and
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ambassador work. there are other foreign services who have two different segments. one for consul and one for diplomatic work and it's interchangeable. >> what is your term of office, so to speak? >> the length? it is normally three or four years. >> in one particular place? >> and one assignment, three to four years or if there is a special need to have a hardship of these assignments, with spouses and kids, but it's not that difficult for us to go to another country because we know the organization and who we report to and the content is different but the rest is more or less familiar to us. >> the foreign office is fairly liberal, allowing us to stay a fifth or sixth year if their kids are close to the final exams.
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>> you are about to leave us in the san francisco bay area? >> it is only three years and i'm not only going to finish my assignment in san francisco, but i will retire. we have a mandatory retirement age of 65 and when i reach that, i will leave. >> how was it that you chose or were assigned to the bay area? >> i must admit that san francisco is not number one on the wish list. >> [laughter] >> how long is the list? >> i shouldn't say this, but i was the ambassador in the caribbean and it was very interesting working with different governments and in climate change and renewable energy matters. moving to burma would be
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interesting because politically and economically, this is where things are happening and the ambassador decided to stay because it was such an interesting country and stayed one year longer. it didn't become available, after all. number two was san francisco and i admit i did not expect it to be so fascinating and interesting as it turned out to be. >> fascinating. we will take a quick break and continue the conversation with the council -- the consul general from germany.
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[music] [music]
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good morning and welcome back to mosaic. i'm rabbi eric weiss and happy to be your host. we are with stefan schlueter, germany's consulate general. what were some of the highlights you enjoyed and some things that surprise do in the bay area? >> what i didn't quite expect, was the impact that silicon valley had on the work of the consulate. this is something that was very, very unexpected and it seemed like i had a first row seat watching the spectacle that is moving the world. we have lots and lots of
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delegation and we have politicians and entrepreneurs coming to see what is happening here and what can be expected to come from silicon valley, which would influence us with social policies and with every nook and cranny of our society will be influenced by that and that makes it fascinating to work here. >> as the consul general, do you work with the private sector in germany, itself, and in silicon valley, as well as government to government? >> we have a chamber of commerce and trade investment organizations and another organization that deals with startups and we are invited to get adjusted to what is successful to be government to government or we have about 90
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members of parliament since i arrived in august 2014, 19 members of the german parliament and we have four or five cabinet members and governors of the different federal states and they are all here tomorrow. >> in the context of this diversity, it's a natural question to ask you. in a large way, as we entered this conversation, what are your reflections representing the german government to the diversification of the jewish community in the bay area? >> this was a large jewish community and one of the positive aspects of those we were looking for, to which i have been stationed and i was the spokesman in tel aviv from 1986-1990 and i worked in new york from 2004 with jewish organizations, mainly and in los angeles, axially --
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actually. i've worked closely with the jewish community and especially for german diplomats, it's very, very close to my heart and this was, actually, after silicon valley, the second most important aspect of my work in the last three years. >> how would you characterize the nature of the work? what is the goal? what is the impact? >> the goal, for me, is to reach out as much as possible and go to congregations and organizations and to talk and give them a first-hand impression, also, of modern germany. it's because of our history. it's a very emotional one. the holocaust is ever present. just reading books or reading magazines about what's happening, now, and reading about the reemergence of jewish life in germany. it is something that you read
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but you don't have the emotional impact that you would have. for instance, going to listen to somebody -- a rabbi just the other day said that whenever a rabbi speaks at a congregation, it is for each and every one of the audience. this is a personal experience. this is something that i've tried to make it possible for as many people as possible. >> if we take that personal level, if we take it deeper and broader, i'm curious to know that as a german, what was it that was in the german society or german character that allowed the holocaust to happen? at the same time, what is it in the german character that has allowed the extraordinary self reflective capacity and reconciliation to rebuild on one extreme to the other? >> well, it is how many powers we have to talk about this, but
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i just don't buy into that it's part of the german character. or, i would say that daniel and i had a long conversation. the germans have it in their genes to commit atrocities and to have something like the holocaust to kill jews. this goes against, for instance, having many german jews. do they have it in their character and their genes? i don't really buy into that. this was a horrible, horrible, historic development at that time in the 1930s and the 1920s. there have been books, tomes, written about how this came about and it's very difficult. >> if we put that aside and say, well, it's something that
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is possible in human beings, regardless with a are -- >> unfortunately, it is something possible. >> we see this in different countries and societies. can you talk about this and the time? some of those characteristics, some of those societal conditions or the aspects that allowed this? >> i think it is the state of this time. it was a much bigger impact on the thinking of the individual. i wouldn't say anti-semitism didn't exist before hitler came to power. it definitely existed. he tapped into something that was there. there was no intimate or freedom of of information act or nothing where people could actually inform themselves independently from what the state told them. this, i think, made a huge
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difference and would make it much more difficult nowadays to have anything like that again. >> part of what you are saying is if we recognize it's not part of a national consciousness or in the dna, then it's something we need to be careful of wherever we live? >> we should really be aware of the fact that this could happen again and i don't say that others would do this, also. i'm always very, very careful to have the impression that i would like to delude the german responsibility for this, not at all. unfortunately, it is not a singular event. >> thank you so much. we will take a quick break and come back to this serious conversation once again on mosaic.
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good morning and welcome
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back to mosaic. i'm rabbi eric weiss, honored to be your host this morning in this conversation with stefan schlueter, consul general of germany. can you talk more about the way in which jewish life exists in germany, today? >> yes. we have seen quite a remarkable reemergence of jewish life. we had about 500,000 german jews living in germany in 1933 and only about 12,000 to 15,000 left by the end of the war. quite a number survived. they say 3000 survived in the underground, which is quite remarkable. we had about 15,000 left after the war and by 1990 we had about 30,000.
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the iron curtain came down and the soviet union faltered and many soviet jews went to israel and many went to the u.s. and many went to germany. now, we have about 200,000 -- the jewish community of about 200,000 living in germany for any length of time and believe it or not, about 20,000 young israelis in berlin coming from israel to live in germany and this is one of the things you might listen about. you might hear hebrew in the streets of germany. >> to slice off that piece, what do you think it is about young israelis, themselves, choosing to come to germany to live and to work. >> i think there might be a part of it where it's the influence of the old german jews who were integrated to
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israel, already in the 1920s and the 1930s and the 1940s. they were germans, actually and brought the german language with them and there is always a special interest, a critical interest and a special interest toward germany in israel or worldwide and when they decided after the army, for instance, that they want to live for a year abroad, it is a natural idea to say, why not go to berlin? this is where lots of my family came from. >> fascinating. this is the big question to ask you. in the world today, we see many displacements of populations and populations immigrating from place to place. without making a political statement, just the fact that this happened, what do you think in the course of the understanding from germany, the way it builds society and has a certain, now, openness, that
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germany, itself, is an example of what it means to be accepting, to be inclusive? i'm not sure what the right word would be. if borders are open and the policies are deliberately welcoming? >> it is a huge challenge. if you take germany, germany has the size of about the state of montana with a population of 82 million and in 2015, when the refugee wave came toward europe and angela merkel decided to open the borders, we accepted about 800,000 refugees within six months. we try to integrate them and this is a huge, huge challenge. but, if this is something -- i know you are familiar with
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jewish concepts, but this is part of what we are doing and i don't want to get too political. if you see efforts to, now, perhaps replace some things, we may -- it's one thing for the government to decide that but i'm very proud, also, that the large majority of germans also supports this open border policy and they welcomed these refugees and we tried to do our best to accommodate them. >> do you know that if, in germany itself, the degree to which jewish germans in germany participate in a particular way with welcoming the refugees into germany, itself? >> you may know israel is also helping. the arabs speaking israeli are
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helping with the immigration and it is very active in germany. also, they are helping and one should not forget, also, that there is one of the challenges that these refugees come from societies where anti-semitic views were the order of this. they come with the anti-semitic notions and prejudices and to tell them about our past and tell them about the special obligations we have about the very, very close relationship that the state of israel is one thing that the government is looking after. >> that's a fascinating development and we will continue our conversation in just a moment, here on mosaic.
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good morning and welcome back to mosaic. i'm rabbi eric weiss and we are in the middle of a fascinating conversation with stefan schlueter, consul general from germany about to leave your tour of duty in the bay area. welcome back. we have some pictures about your tour of duty. tell us, it looks like this is
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a picture -- >> this is the reception that was at the jcc in foster, three weeks ago and this was two weeks ago, the rabbi from the temple and my wife and i was presented with this and will be at the door of our home in buenos aires when we moved there. this is part of the staff of the consulate in pacific heights. and this was at the opening of the exhibition at the jcc in foster city and this lady was a german jew coming from frankfurt and she came to the
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area and one of the kindred transports. >> one of the child transports? >> that is my son, sebastian. is 26 years old and lives and works in london and that is myself and my daughter. she was born in tel aviv in 1998 and my wife, and alisa. she is brazilian and i met her in my first assignment in buenos aires. >> beautiful. i'm curious to know about your personal life and retiring, what were some of your goals as a younger person going to the diplomatic corps and how are you leading change? >> my goal, my idea in joining the foreign service was i wanted to work abroad and liver abroad. not just to travel but experience other countries and
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i wanted to become a foreign correspondent, a journalist or a diplomat. thanks to god they accepted me and i passed the entrance exam at the foreign institute in germany in 1979, quite some time ago and here i am, 38 years later. >> you know, it's always fascinating when someone is part of the diplomatic corps that you represent the country but lead your country -- leave your country and spend most of your career outside your country. i'm wondering -- how has this expanded your sense of being a world citizen if that is not too presumptuous a word to put on you. >> that's interesting. i was born in 1952, and this is seven years after the war and i grew up without any nationalistic, national patriotic feeling and this was not possible.
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as the german ambassador, when i was in the caribbean and handed over my national anthem to the president and the national anthems -- you would never see me singing our national anthem. i don't believe in national symbols. that probably helped to become a citizen of the world, a few may say so and of course you represent your country and you represent the interest of your country and i remember that i once gave an interview in trinidad, tobago, at a newspaper and i was asked if you are proud to be a german and i said, no, i'm not proud to be a german and the next thing, it made the headlines. german ambassador not proud to be german. of course. what i'm proud of, is how we deal with our past. this is something you can be proud of. being proud of being part of a nation that is something that,
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at least for somebody born after the war, it is something that is a notion where strength shows. >> stefan schlueter, thank you for such a fascinating conversation and for spending time with us here on mosaic. ♪
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welcome to base sunday. i'm your host, kenny choi. we have movies, food and shark week stuff. thousands of young adults will be moving into college dorms across the country. we have our famous lifestyle guru with some products to reform your dorm. before you shop, you have to do your preparation and research? >> you need to do your homework before you go to class. see what is in the room. is the furniture built in? see if the


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