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Press Information, 6 November 2012

Presentation of the "Award for Understanding and Tolerance"


The Jewish Museum Berlin Presents Former President of the Federal Republic of Germany Richard von Weizsäcker and Industry Executive Klaus Mangold with the "Award for Understanding and Tolerance"

Gala Celebration Attended by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany Joachim Gauck

On Saturday 17 November, the Jewish Museum Berlin will proudly present the "Jewish Museum Award for Understanding and Tolerance." The gala celebration will also mark the official opening of the future Jewish Museum Berlin Academy. This year, Jewish Museum Berlin director W. Michael Blumenthal will hand over the award to former President of the Federal Republic of Germany Richard von Weizsäcker and industry executive Klaus Mangold. At the award ceremony, the historian Heinrich August Winkler will deliver the laudatory speech for Richard von Weizsäcker and David de Rothschild will be the speaker honoring Klaus Mangold.

Human Dignity, Integration, and Tolerance

The "Award for Understanding and Tolerance" will be awarded by the Jewish Museum Berlin for the eleventh time this year. It is traditionally presented to two individuals from business, cultural, and political circles who have shown a special commitment to encouraging the Federal Republic of Germany to face up to Nazi crimes, and to the critical analysis of anti-Semitism and racism. Dedication to human dignity, the integration of minorities, and dialog between cultures and religions are also honored.

Award Recipient 2012: Richard von Weizsäcker

As the first President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Richard von Weizsäcker named 8 May 1945 a "day of liberation" in his speech marking the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II. He urged German society to look the "historical truth" of the shared knowledge of and complicity in the crimes of the German Nazi regime "straight in the eye – without embellishment and without distortion." In doing so, he made a lasting contribution to a shift in the Germans’ conception of history. During his term as President of the Federal Republic of Germany (1984-1994), Richard von Weizsäcker – a qualified jurist – took a firm stand for understanding, not only with Israel and the countries of the former "Eastern Bloc" but also between the two German states during the process of reunification. When reports of xenophobic attacks in former East Germany hit the news in the early 1990s, he condemned them in the strongest terms in official speeches and expressed his protest at street demonstrations. Engaging with people, adopting other perspectives, and promoting dialogue are principles that Richard von Weizsäcker has faithfully adhered to throughout his long career. As President of the German Protestant Church Congress (1964-1970 and 1979-1981), he encouraged interreligious exchange and as Mayor of Berlin (1981-1984) and then as President, he repeatedly turned his attention to minority groups.

Award Recipient 2012: Klaus Mangold

Klaus Mangold is one of the most prominent German industry executives and most committed to social causes. He has always considered it important to strengthen relations between Germany and its neighboring countries and is still convinced today that commercial involvement builds bridges with other countries and cultures, helping to break down prejudices and bring people closer together. Born in Baden-Württemberg, he campaigned intensively for reconciliation with neighboring France. As Chairman of the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations from 2000 to 2010, he left an important and lasting impression on the relations of the German economy to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He devoted special attention to the development of civil society in territories of the former Soviet Union. As longtime Vice Chairman of the Petersburg Dialog, Klaus Mangold always placed emphasis on constructive and unprejudiced exchange between societies. Promoting the integration of minorities in Germany is a special focus for Klaus Mangold today, now aged 69. At the interface between politics, business, and culture, Klaus Mangold was not only the founding chairman of the Friends of the Berlin Academy of Arts, but also co-founder of the Society of Friends of the Jewish Museum Berlin. As a continued supporter, he contributes significantly to the national and international reputation of the Jewish Museum Berlin.

The Jewish Museum Berlin Academy

Through the opening of the Jewish Museum Berlin Academy in the Eric F. Ross Building, the museum broadens its range of themes to include questions of migration, integration, and intercultural education in a heterogeneous society. Daniel Libeskind’s design for the new academy building in the former central flower market hall creates with its inclined entrance cube a striking, visual counterpart to the museum on the opposite side of the road. The academy will unite the library, archive, and education department under one roof and the activities around the new thematic foci will also be anchored in the academy.

The "Award for Understanding and Tolerance"

Since 2011, the prize has been handed over in the form of a candelabra, a Menorah. Created by the Israeli art duo from "Studio Reddish," Naama Steinbock and Idan Friedman, the unique piece combines historical elements of symbolic significance with contemporary design. In the steel frame, individual candle holders are set that have their own stories to tell – collected from antique markets in various countries, it is their differences that bear witness to the continuity of Jewish life in the Diaspora. Historical objects used for liturgical practice by Jewish families are thus embedded in a contemporary frame.

As at the preceding award ceremonies, the guest list comprises prominent figures from the worlds of politics, business, culture, and the media. Acceptances have so far been received from the President of the Federal Republic of Germany Joachim Gauck, Federal Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble, Governing Mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit, Minister of State for Cultural and Media Affairs Bernd Neumann, Israeli Ambassador Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, and U.S. Ambassador Philip Murphy. Further guests include Rüdiger Grube, Chairman of the Deutsche Bahn Management Board, Salomon Korn, Vice President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, the actress Iris Berben, the journalist Ulrich Wickert, and the architect of the Jewish Museum Berlin and the new academy, Daniel Libeskind.

The proceeds of the gala dinner go towards the museum’s educational work.

Award Recipients 2002-2011

The "Jewish Museum Berlin Award for Understanding and Tolerance" was presented for the first time in 2002 to Berthold Beitz, Chairman of the Curatorium of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach Foundation, and Heinrich von Pierer, former Chairman of the Siemens AG Board; 2003 to the publisher Friede Springer and Otto Schily, the former Federal Minister for Internal Affairs; 2004 to the entrepreneur Michael Otto and the now deceased former Federal President Johannes Rau; 2005 to the now deceased art collector and patron Heinz Berggruen and manager Helmut Panke; 2007 to former Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the historian Fritz Stern; 2008 to corporate consultant Roland Berger and the author Imre Kertész; 2009 to film director Michael Verhoeven and the Bosch Group; 2010 to literary scholar Jan Philipp Reemtsma and business manager Hubertus Erlen; and 2011 to German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel.

Photos and further information

Katharina Schmidt-Narischkin
Telefon: +49(0)30 259 93 419
k.schmidt-narischkin[at]jmberlin.de

Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation
Lindenstr. 9-14, 10969 Berlin
www.jmberlin.de
www.facebook.com/jmberlin

Press photos of the gala event will be available from Sunday 18 November at 2 pm for free download on our website on: www.jmberlin.de/fotodownload.

Further information on the academy and a documentary about the building will be available from 17 November on our website: www.jmberlin.de.

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