• Issue: November 2005
  • Designers: Stefan Klein & Olaf Neumann
  • Stamp Size: 30.8 mm x 30.8 mm
  • Plate no.: 608 (2 phosphor bars)
  • Sheet of 10 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: offset

Diplomatic relations between the State of Israel and the then-Republic of West Germany were established in 1965, twenty years after the end of the Second World War. However, the public and political debate over the question of relations between the two countries and the restitution agreements related to the Holocaust did not end then. Notably, the reverberations from the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem in 1961, and the Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt in 1963, were still fresh. Part of the public in Israel was opposed to the establishment of relations and the payment of reparations, arguing that they constitute a dishonor to both the victims and the survivors of the Holocaust. The issue of restitution and the establishment of relations with Israel were contentious in Germany as well.

Since the establishment of relations, both countries have made impressive strides in strengthening bilateral ties. Today, Germany is Israel's largest trading partner in Europe, while scientific and research ties between academic institutions in both countries are extensive. Both governments encourage exchange programs between young people, students and young leaders designed for encounters and mutual acquaintance. Israeli dance and theater groups and artists appear throughout Germany, and Israeli authors are translated into German and have attained wide popularity.

Despite broad political, economic and cultural ties, the memory of the Holocaust continues to constitute an inseparable part of both the German and the Jewish identity, and to play a central role in the relations between them.

The stamp commemorating 40 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany shows the flags of both countries side by side. A barbed wire fence symbolizes the Holocaust that is unforgotten and never will be forgotten. In this historical context, Israel and Germany are moving forward together toward a better future for the next generations.

Jonathan Miller
Political Counselor
Embassy of Israel in Berlin

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40 Years of Diplomatic Relations between Israel and Germany - Joint Issue