Through a typographical error, an article in Sunday's Washington Post stated incorrectly that there are 8,000 Jews in East Germany. The correct figure is 800.

Is it possible, 33 years after the end of World War II, that Hitler's vision of a Germany without Jews may slowly be coming time?

"The danger exists," said Rafael Schier, chairman of the Jewish community in the West German capital of Bonn. "The older generation is dying out. Some young people are moving away and others are intermarrying. There are some smaller communities with 50 or 60 Jews that might disappear."

On the whole, however, Schier and most other Jewish leaders believe that a Jewless Germany will not come about. Some will always stay here," as Ralph Schweiger of the West Berlin Jewish Center put it.

Nevertheless, the statistics are not altogether reasuring.

In the early 1930s, Germany's robust and thriving Jewish population numbered more than half a million persons before the rise of the Nazis drove all but a handful either away or into death camps.

Today in the western half of this divided country, there are about 27,000 Jews among a population of 61 million, according to Schweiger. In 1970, he says the number was 29,000.

In the Communist eastern half of Germany, a country of some 17 million people, the Jews have almost disappeared - their numbers now are down to fewer than 8000 and most of them are quite old, according to Dr. Peter Kirchner, a community leader in East Berlin.

If Jews are going to survive in a country in which just 50 years ago they played such an important cultural, scientific and business role, it will clearly be in West Germany and West Berlin.

And it is in the West that one can see the crosscurrents that in fact add up to a battle for survival.

"We had a tendency toward a shrinking population," said Schweiger of West Berlin. "There were 6,000 Jews here in 1970 and there would only be about 4,500 today. But in the past three years there has been in important development. Some 1,300 Russians Jews, mostly young people, have come to West Berlin to live."

Indeed, the most positive force for growth among the Jewish population today appears to be coming from other countries - emigration from Eastern Europe to West Germany and some from Latin America.

Werner Nachmann, chairman of the Central Council of Jews in West Germany, based in Duesseldorf, claimed that in the past year or two the Jewish population actually rose by about 10 percent because of this influx.

There is another unusual factor, too, that Schier called "a small Phenomenon here is Germany. The Procedure for converting from Christianity to Judaism is not as different here as in other countries. The rabbis are conscious that conversions help stabilize the community. Perhaps 10-15 percent of our community in Bonn are converts," he said.

Still, the natural and lingering emotional factors pushing toward an ever smaller number of German Jews - once the elite of world Jewry - are substantial.

Hans Schafgans, 50, is a well-known portrait photographer in West Germany. He is a German-born Jew who is comfortable living in his native country today and says, as does his fellow community leader in Bonn, Schier, that he has never experienced any anti-Semitic behavior toward him personally since the end of the war.

Still, "the past hangs one," he said. "Among young people only a small number are interested in staying here. There is an influence on the children from the parents and from relatives in the United States or Israel. The parents won't leave, but some of the young people do. Israel has great importance to them. They feel themselves drawn to it. But if they don't go when they are young, by the time they are between 25 and 45, they are fully integrated and consider themselves Germans and Jews.

"The marriage chances for young Jews are also not so good here," he pointed out, "and that is an important argument for some to go to the United States or Israel."

Numerous interviews with German Jews seem to indicate that many youngsters do leave. But there are no reliable statistics and Nachmann claims that the actual figure is only about 5 percent, in part because the economic opportunities are better in West Germany.

One of those young people who does not wnat to go to Israel and who thinks he will stay in West Germany is Schafgans' articulate son Boris, 17, who considers himself a Jew but "not in a religious way."

"What I feel is a combination of things," he explains. "There is no national feeling toward Germany nor an identification exclusively with German cultural and social ideals. There are some Jews who try and live a typical Jewish life of kosher foods and going to synagogue. But it is very difficult to give an orthodox life here because there are so few Jewish influences.

"Here, there is a certain Schizophrenia. Every young Jew has that problem. There are no Jewish schools. So you go to German schools and become German in some parts of your personality.

"But I think there is no one Jew who is a complete German."

The lack of information young Germans have about the Nazi era and Jews an assessment well-documented by numerous German educators, causes what Boris called "a problematic relationship" with German youngsters.

"It is a situation which I think can be solved. This is a democracy. There is no Hitler and it is a society where you can say what you think and minorities aren't discriminated against. It's all the Basic Law," West Germany's Constitution.

"But I think that German society may still be thinking another way. When we are in a group and a discussion of family comes to the point where I say I'm a Jew, they may make a normal face but I can't imagine that a German of my generation looks at me like other people because they don't see it in their background or that of their parents.

"A great number of the younger generation seems to love the Jews because they think they are supposed to . . . So it is tough to have a normal relationship," Boris Schafgans said.

"These are only things that people can see who are not full Germans in all categories.So as a Jew I live here as something of an outsider, even though my friends are German. But I'm not unlucky in the sense of what I can see."

Some German Jews, understandably in the light of the World War II holocaust, see things that aren't there.

Some reactions here are very emotional and not logical, especially among old people," a worker in the West Berlin Jewish Center said.

"If they get a short answer from the bureaucracy they think it is anti-Semitic. We recently got a letter from someone who wanted a florist shop owner to take a plant out of the window that was labeled 'Jew's beard' because they thought it was a slur. Actually, that's the correct name for the cactus plant," she said.

There have been a variety of anti-Semitic incidents in West Germany carried out mostly by bands of neo-Nazis whose total numbers are tiny.

But the widespread opinion among Jewish leaders in Germany today, as Nachmann put it, is that "we take everyting seriously but we do not at all feel threatened. We fell we have the full understanding and support of the federal and local government and the police.

Some others disagree about the police, not in the sense that they feel police support the Nazis but that they frequently are unable to recognize dangerous activities - such as handing out Nazi handbills - when no violence is involved.

In general, the Jewish concerns center on the fact that whatever little anti-Jewish activity is carried on is done more boldly these days, though not in greater frequency, and is done by young people.

Jews living in Germany today are comfortable here, said Hans Schafgans. "It would not be true to make Germany today look like an anti-Semitic country," add Schweiger.

"As many anti-Semitic incidents probably happen in France or Belgium or the United States," where democratic traditions are stronger, he said.

"But this is Germany and a swastika here means more than it does anywhere else and there are a lot of people who want to believe that the Germans haven't changed."

So, he said, the Jewish communities have to move quickly, in part for West Germany's own good, to make the authorities and the media aware.

Nachmann said some recent incidents have received too much publicity and claimed that some are exaggerated abroad for propaganda purposes. Others say some Jewish leaders don't want publicity because it might only make things worse.

In Bonn, a Jewish temple sits on what may be the most politically strategic site of any synagogue in the world - directly opposite the main entance of the West German Foreign Ministry.

It was not by accident that the city fathers donated that site to the Jewish community 10 years ago.

In a sense it symbolizes "the new Germany," a democratic state for three decades now, yet one still mindful of the sins of the Nazi past and, in typically German style, anixous for everyone to know and see that it has changed.

In a less visible sense, however, the temple also reflects the uncertain future of Germany Jewry.

There is, for example, no rabbi because in the West Germany capital of almost 300,000 residents, there are only some 150 members of the congregation. When someone dies, or marries, or has a bar mitzwah, therabbi from Dortmund, a bigger city 50 miles to the north must be called to officiate.

If there is a key to survival and regeneration, it lies in the neighborhoods of the big cities such as Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich and Dortmund.