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New director appointed for Berlin Jewish Museum

BERLIN (AP) — Berlin's Jewish Museum has chosen a professor of Jewish studies and religion to succeed its founding director, who is stepping down later this year.

The museum's governing council said Thursday that Peter Schaefer, who has taught at Princeton University as well as universities in Tuebingen, Cologne and Berlin, will take over from Michael Blumenthal.

Monika Gruetters, Germany's culture minister, praised Blumenthal for the "unprecedented success" of the museum. She says Schaefer is an internationally known expert on Jewish issues who brings with him many contacts from Israel and the United States.

Blumenthal, who fled Nazi Germany as a child and started as director of the museum in 1997, will step down Sept. 1. The Daniel Libeskind-designed museum opened to the public in 2001 and is now a major Berlin attraction.

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