German-speaking Switzerland covers two-thirds of the country and accounts for 70% of its population. With cities as varied as its economic centre Zurich, the capital Berne, the watchmaking city of Biel, the ancient university and contemporary cultural life of Basel, Lucerne and its festivities, St Gallen and its abbey library. Not forgetting, of course, its mountains and lakes, which are a delight for holidaymakers whatever the season.
Although the Jewish presence in Basel probably dates back to the 13th century, as in Lucerne, the city is best known for hosting the first Zionist Congress in 1897. In Bern, the Jewish presence is even older, dating back to the 6th century. In Biel, on the other hand, the community was mainly made up of Alsatian Jews who left the region after the 1870 war. They also populate the towns of Lengnau and Endingen, where Jews lived continuously for centuries. Zurich is home to Switzerland’s largest Jewish community.