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Frankfurt Becomes First Major German City Since Nazi Era To Elect A Jewish Mayor

A surprise victory turns the keys to Frankfurt city hall over to Peter Feldmann, the German city's first Jewish mayor since 1933.

Frankfurt's mayor elect, Peter Feldmann (YouTube)
Frankfurt's mayor elect, Peter Feldmann (YouTube)


FRANKFURT – Frankfurt has elected its first Jewish mayor since 1933, marking the first time since the Nazi era that a major German city will be led by a Jew.

Social Democrat Peter Feldmann, 53, surprised local observers by tallying 57.4% of the vote, taking Frankfurt's city hall out of the hands of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party for the first time in 17 years. "This is a big, big surprise," Feldman said. "Nobody, including me, expected this."

The city councilman ran on a platform strong on social themes including fighting child poverty and adequate elder care and low-income housing.

A political scientist and former director of an elderly care facility, Feldmann spent two years at a kibbutz in Israel during his youth. First analyses of the poll results show that voters in multicultural Frankfurt disliked his CDU opponent, Boris Rhein, who is known as a "law and order" man.

The new mayor will have to demonstrate considerable savvy to get around controversy that has already manifested over his announced plans to raise a local commercial tax and levy a so-called "bed tax" on hotels.

Read the full story in German by Hannelore Crolly

Photo - YouTube

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Migrant Lives

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

An orchid rehabilitation project is turning a small Mexican community into a tourist magnet — and attracting far-flung locals back to their hometown.

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

Marcos Aguilar Pérez takes care of orchids rescued from the rainforest in his backyard in Santa Rita Las Flores, Mapastepec, Chiapas, Mexico.

Adriana Alcázar González/GPJ Mexico
Adriana Alcázar González

MAPASTEPEC — Sweat cascades down Candelaria Salas Gómez’s forehead as she separates the bulbs of one of the orchids she and the other members of the Santa Rita Las Flores Community Ecotourism group have rescued from the rainforest. The group houses and protects over 1,000 orchids recovered from El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, after powerful storms.

“When the storms and heavy rains end, we climb to the vicinity of the mountains and collect the orchids that have fallen from the trees. We bring them to Santa Rita, care for them, and build their strength to reintegrate them into the reserve later,” says Salas Gómez, 32, as she attaches an orchid to a clay base to help it recover.

Like magnets, the orchids of Santa Rita have exerted a pull on those who have migrated from the area due to lack of opportunity. After years away from home, Salas Gómez was one of those who returned, attracted by the community venture to rescue these flowers and exhibit them as a tourist attraction, which provides residents with an adequate income.

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