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New leadership for Berlin's Jewish Museum after founding director steps down

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, had been chosen to take over from Michael Blumenthal.

Monika Gruetters, Germany's culture minister, praised Blumenthal for the "unprecedented success" of the museum has seen since it opened more than a decade ago. 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 museum director before it opened in 1997, is to step down Sept. 1.