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First Rabbis Ordained in Germany Since WWII Holocaust

Germany's Jewish community has ordained its first rabbis since the Nazi regime carried out the Holocaust in World War II.

Three men were ordained as rabbis Thursday, at a synagogue in the eastern city of Dresden. The rabbis were trained in Potsdam at the Abraham Geiger College, which was set up in 1999 to strengthen the Jewish religion in Germany.

Two of the new rabbis, a German and Czech, will take up positions at synagogues in Germany, while the third will return to his native South Africa.

The deputy president of Germany's Central Council of Jews, Dieter Graummann say many more rabbis are needed to serve the 100,000 Jews living throughout the country.

Germany had a thriving Jewish community of 600,000 before the war, but most of them fled Nazi persecution or were killed in the Holocaust.

Only about 12,000 German Jews remained in the country in the first years after the war, but a dramatic revival took place in the 1990s with the arrival of Jews from the former Soviet Union.

German Jewish experts say Thursday's rabbinical ordinations are the first since the Nazi secret police, the Gestapo, destroyed the College of Jewish Studies in Berlin in 1942.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.