Paul Spiegel

President, Central Council of Jews

Walk into Paul Spiegel's office in Dusseldorf, and you immediately notice the photographs of Spiegel with film and sports stars. But look a little more, and you'll also see pictures of Spiegel with German politicians and foreign leaders such as Britain's Tony Blair.

Spiegel's prominence has little to do with his business--running a booking agency for speakers and artists. Spiegel, 63, also represents the country's Jewish community as President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. When a racist or anti-Semitic crime is committed, Spiegel is asked to comment. His views carry weight since both Jewish and government leaders believe Germany has a special responsibility to ensure that Nazi-era crimes are never repeated.

A key part of his job, he says, is to act as a watchdog for democratic values, which protect not only Jews but society at large. Spiegel envisions a day when relations between Jews and non-Jews in Germany will reflect a kind of mundane normality. "Someone will say: `He's Jewish,' and the other person will say: `So what?"' Spiegel is doing his best to make that happen.

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