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Walter Homolka: Rector of the Abraham Geiger College lets offices rest


After a report on sexual harassment at the Abraham Geiger College, Rector Walter Homolka reacted. According to the University of Potsdam, a commission should examine the allegations.

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Walter Homolka (in August 2021)

Photo: Varvara Smirnova / Future Image / IMAGO

The rabbi and university professor Walter Homolka has announced that he will no longer actively carry out his duties in the Jewish community and at the University of Potsdam.

The chancellor of the Abraham Geiger College emailed the college a corresponding statement from Homolka, and SPIEGEL has the letter.

The decision was preceded by a report by »Welt« about at least one case of sexualized harassment by a teacher towards a student at the college in 2019.

“In light of the allegations made in the press today, I would like to express my personal dismay.

It hurts to have to read such things,” says Homolka's statement from the college.

He has spent his entire life in the service of liberal Judaism and tried to »promote opportunities to deal with Jewish tradition creatively and without fear and to get involved in the life of the Jewish community in a variety of ways«.

He did not go into detail about the allegations.

"All commitment also finds opponents who don't like what you move," it says instead.

»However, I have no influence on the behavior of people close to me and I don't want to have it either.

I am personally affected if this discredits my commitment and my work.« He wants to let his tasks rest until the facts have been clarified.

According to the University of Potsdam, a six-member commission is to examine the allegations.

Awarded the Federal Cross of Merit

Walter Homolka is rector and managing director of the Abraham Geiger College, which he co-founded, which belongs to the University of Potsdam and where rabbis and cantors have been trained for several years.

Homolka holds many influential positions, for example he is deputy executive director of the School of Jewish Theology at the University of Potsdam, chairman of the non-Orthodox »General Rabbi Conference Germany« (ARK) and chairman of the »Union Progressive Jews«.

Homolka is also the founder and managing director of the Zacharias Frankel College, another affiliated institute of the University of Potsdam, where rabbis are trained.

The "Rabbinical Cabinet of Zacharias Frankel College" is currently advising on how to avert danger or damage to the institution, according to an internal email.

At noon, the Liberal Jewish Community in Hanover had already demanded an independent and comprehensive clarification of the allegations, as well as the resignation of Homolka from all his offices.

In recent years, Walter Homolka has received a number of prizes and honors, including the Federal Cross of Merit.

The Abraham Geiger College is one of the few liberal training centers for rabbis in Europe.

It is widely funded nationwide, including by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.


Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2022-05-06

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