Category Archives: Freundeskreis

about the work of our association

Membership meeting and election of the chairpersons

On June 19th, 2019 the membership meeting of Freundeskreis Pankow Ashkelon followed by our little summer party took place in Frei-Zeit-Haus in Weißensee.

At the beginning chairperson Ines Koenen presented the annual report and reported about the activities of the last two years. The 12 club members who were present affirmative took note of her report and the financial report of the treasurer Stefan Krause.

Past Ines Koenen declared she won’t candidate as chairperson again, Oskar Lederer is elected as the new chairman of Freundeskreis Pankow Ashkelon. Heidelinde Elstner und Marcel Krümmel are elected as vice chairpersons and Stefan Krause again as treasurer.

Oskar Lederer thanked Ines Koenen and the other retired chairpersons for their work with the request to continue being active for Freundeskreis Pankow Ashkelon.

Outlook: Jubilee celebrations to the 25th anniversary of town twinning Pankow Ashkelon

The Freundeskreis Pankow – Ashkelon is preparing a traveling exhibition with 10 Roll Ups to the history of town twinning with Ashkelon. The opening will take place at the ceremony of Pankow district authority on the eve event before the Fest an der Panke. Following it will be shown in the town hall Pankow and other municipal facilities to promote the town twinning. In addition, a visit of a delegation from Ashkelon and a performance of Goferberg Choir are in planning.

Trip to Israel in 2018

From 13 to 15 May 2018, District Mayor Sören Benn, members of Berlin’s district council and Freundeskreis Pankow Ashkelon made a joint visit to Ashkelon.

Meeting in the City Hall

Emergency Command Center of Ashkelon

Kibbutz Be’eri

At the home of Ilana Shafir (museum and educational venue)

Ashkelon National Park

Visiting Makif High School

Al-Majdal, the ancient arabic quarter of Ashkelon

Community Center


Trip to Israel in May 2018

On 14 May 2018, the State of Israel will celebrate its 70th birthday. Between 13 and 16 May 2018, Berlin’s Pankow district will be represented in Ashkelon by a delegation headed by district mayor Sören Benn. This delegation will also include members of Pankow’s district parliament and Freundeskreis members.

During our trip, we will visit Ashkelon, take a look at the latest urban development projects, visit a kibbutz and meet with new and old partners and organizations in the field of education, sports and culture.

The goals of the trip are to:

  • continue the existing relations between Pankow and its twin town;
  • arrange a meeting between district mayor Sören Benn and its counterpart in Ashkelon, Mr Tomer Glam;
  • arrange a meeting between deputies from Pankow and Ashkelon; and
  • prepare the 25th anniversary of the town twinning.

Should you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Upcoming events in 2018

To kick off the new year, we would like to inform you of our upcoming projects and events.

New Year’s reception

On 19 January, 7pm, Zukunftswerkstatt Heinersdorf und Freizeithaus e.V. will host a New Year’s reception in Berlin’s Heinersdorf district. This reception will also be an opportunity to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Zukunftswerkstatt. The hosts would be pleased to welcome members of the Freundeskreis and those interested as their guests. We therefore kindly invite you to join us and take the opportunity to enter into a dialogue with the hosts, Freundeskreis members and other guests.

The reception will take place in Margaretensaal, a room belonging to the Margaretenhof complex of buildings. Having been classified a historical monument, this complex is used by the Protestant church community in Heinersdorf. Address: Romain-Rolland-Straße 53.

Visit to Israel in 2018

On 14 May 2018, the state of Israel will celebrate its 70th anniversary. In Ashkelon, the district of Pankow will be represented by a delegation headed by district mayor Sören Benn who is also a Freundeskreis member. Other members of the the association Freundeskreis Berlin Pankow-Ashkelon will also take this anniversary as an occasion to visit Ashkelon.

The visit will take place between 10/13 May and 15/19 May. During our trip, we want to explore Ashkelon and its surroundings and meet both long-time and new partners and organizations. If requested by participants, we would also be willing to plan joint visits to various sights in Israel, for example.

To discuss the details and make organizational arrangements, we plan to meet with participants and anyone interested in visiting Ashkelon with us at Café Nord (corner of Grunowstraße 21 and Schulstraße) on 19 January 2018, 4.30pm.
From there, we will go directly to Heinersdorf to attend the above-mentioned New Year’s reception.

On 7 December 2017, our board member Renate Schmid informed the committee on advanced training, cultural affairs and town twinnings of Pankow’s district parliament of our plan to visit Ashkelon, attracting broad interest among the deputies who will discuss this issue again in January.

Trinational sport camp

In 2018, we will stage a trinational sport camp together with the association promoting the town twinning between Pankow and the Polish city of Kołobrzeg (Verein der Freunde Kolbergs e.V.), the Prenzlauer Berg sport youth club and ALBA Berlin. We plan to carry out volleyball and basketball camps in Berlin, Ashkelon and Kołobrzeg for young persons aged between 14 and 16, thereby contributing to the 30th anniversary of this town twinning. We hope that this will become a successful and integral part of our town twinning scheme.

Members of Pankow’s socio-psychiatric service visit Israel

Between 28 October and 4 November 2017, 14 colleagues from Pankow’s socio-psychiatric service and two colleagues from the counseling centre for disabled persons visited Israel for advanced training purposes.

In Ashkelon, the group met with Mayer Tomer Glam, for example, and visited different social institutions.

Plenary Assembly with Election of Board Members

On 21 June 2017, Christof Lewek, member of the association Freundeskreis Berlin Pankow-Ashkelon and head of the recreation centre in Berlin’s Weißensee district, hosted this year’s plenary assembly. We are very happy to welcome two new members to our association: Mr Sören Benn (party Die Linke), district mayor of Berlin Pankow, and Mr Michael Gericke, non-medical practitioner.

Agenda items included the report of the board on the activities carried out between 2015 and 2017, the cash report, the approval of the activities undertaken by the previous board and the election of the new board members. Ines Koenen (chair), Stefanie Gronau (deputy chair) and Stefan Krause (treasurer) were unanimously re-elected as board members, while Natalie Zange (deputy chair) and Renate Schmid (assessor) were unanimously elected as new members.

At the plenary assembly, the association agreed to focus on the following projects in the next two years:

  • Intensifying cooperation with Pankow’s district administration and the deputies of the district parliament;
  • cooperating with Sportjugend Prenzlauer Berg to organize a youth exchange between Pankow and Ashkelon in 2018/2019;
  • preparing and organizing events celebrating the 25th anniversary of the town twinning in 2019;
  • visiting Ashkelon in early 2018 together with district mayor Sören Benn and deputies of Pankow’s district parliament;
  • upholding the association’s membership in the Federal Association of Binational Associations (BBG).

Federal Association of Binational Associations

Freundeskreis Berlin Pankow-Ashkelon is a founding member of the Federal Association of Binational Associations (BBG).

The Federal Association represents binational associations and town-twinning associations in Germany and aims to create a network and foster exchange, cooperation and synergies among its members.

For more information, please visit

Visit to Israel in October 2015

Between 22 and 25 October 2015, Freundeskreis chair Ines Koenen and her deputy Stefanie Gronau visited our twin town Ashkelon. Having received many guests from Ashkelon in Berlin to celebrate the anniversary of our town twinning agreement in 2014, we also wanted to pay them a visit. Furthermore, we wanted to present our idea of organizing an art camp. Although details still need to be discussed, the project seems to be promising. Both youth art schools are already in touch with each other.

We were especially keen to deepen the existing contacts. The screening of the documentary »Im Himmel unter der Erde« made an essential contribution to this endeavour. Sixty Israelis of all generations joined the screening, including many young people, representatives of the municipality and holocaust survivor Eva Erben. Being one of the historical witnesses interviewed for the video archive »Sprechen trotz allem«, she is widely known in Pankow. Eva Erben has already visited Pankow and signed the visitors’ book.

As always, we were offered a very warm welcome. We were impressed by the warmth and openness of the people we met. Everybody did their best to adapt the programme to our needs. Now that we have met the people of Ashkelon, we look forward to many new encounters and hope to extend our project work in the coming years.

Agenda items:

Visit to Ashkelon’s youth art school

Besuch der Jugendkunstschule in Ashkelon


Screening of the documentary »Im Himmel unter der Erde« about the Jewish cemetery in Weißensee at the community centre in Ashkelon

Filmvorführung des Dokumentarfilmes »Im Himmel unter Erde« über den Jüdischen Friedhof Weißensee im Community Center in Ashkelon


Tour of Ashkelon’s archeological sites with Gad Sobol

Führung durch die archäologischen Stätten Ashkelons

Visit to the kibbutz Nitzanim with Naav Zelinger

Besichtigung des Kibbuz Nitzanim

Besichtigung des Kibbuzes Nitzanim. Melkanlage.

Official Ceremony Marking the 50th Anniversary of Diplomatic Ties between Germany and Israel

Representatives of the Freundeskreis attended the ceremony celebrating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Germany and Israel on 12 May 2015. Federal President Joachim Gauck and Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin gave speeches, and the Berlin Philharmonic played Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s Italian Symphony.