Peter Feldmann - Reuters - March 2012
Peter Feldmann, new elected mayor of the city of Frankfurt poses in front of Frankfurt's town hall March 25, 2012. Photo by Reuters
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For the first time since the Second World War, a major German city has elected a Jewish mayor of Frankfurt.

Peter Feldmann of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), was elected mayor after receiving 57% of the vote and defeating Boris Rhein of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany.

Feldmann, 53, considers himself to be a “liberal Jew,” and is one of the founders of the Jewish wing of the SPD. His election, which is considered surprising in Germany, puts an end to 17 years during which not a single SPD candidate was elected mayor of the city. Feldmann lives in his Frankfurt with his wife and three-year-old daughter. He will start his term on July 1.

In an interview with Jewish-German newspaper Jüdische Allgemeine, Feldmann stated that his Jewish identity did not play any role in his campaign. "The fact that this issue did not come up in my campaign is a testament to the strength of our open and liberal city." Feldmann's campaign mostly focused on social issues such as housing, education and the fight against poverty.

Frankfurt is the fifth largest city in terms of population in Germany, as well as its finance capital. Out of 700,000 residents, 7,000 of them are Jewish, and alongside Berlin and Munich, Frankfurt is home to a very active Jewish community. Before the rise of the Nazis, the Jewish community was the second largest after Berlin. The city even had a Jewish mayor in 1924, who was switched in 1933 after Hitler’s rise to power.