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Peter Feldmann becomes Frankfurt's first Jewish mayor since Hitler

Peter Feldmann did not campaign on his religious identity and defeated a pro-Israel rival. Even he was surprised by his landslide victory.

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Peter Feldmann appears in this photograph from November. (Wikimedia commons)

The German city of Frankfurt has elected its first Jewish mayor since the rise of Adolf Hitler and only the second in its history, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

In elections held Sunday, Peter Feldmann handily defeated his rival Christian Democratic Union rival Boris Rhein by a 15-point margin, according to The Jerusalem Post.

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JTA said Feldman won a landslide 57 percent of the vote. The city of 650,000 has Germany’s fourth-largest Jewish population, or about 7,000 people the majority of whom are transplants from the former Soviet Union, according to the news agency.

The last time the city had a Jewish mayor was in 1933, according to JTA. Ludwig Landmann served as mayor for nine years but was expelled from office when the Nazi Party took power with the stated goal of ridding Germany of its Jewish population.

The JTA said Feldmann was even surprised himself by his victory.

Formerly the head of a retirement home, Felmann told the Jerusalem Post that his religious identity did not play a part in his campaigning for office: “It was not a topic. I did not cite it is as a theme. The voters know I am Jewish. Period!” he was quoted as saying.

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Rhein, Feldman’s opponent, is a strong supporter of Israel, according to The Post.

Feldmann also said his city’s relations with Tel Aviv — the two are partner cities — will continue, including the two cities’ “regular school exchange programs.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/germany/120329/peter-landmann-becomes-frankfurts-first-jewish-mayor-hit