Press Release, Sat 12 Nov 2022
Today, the Jewish Museum Berlin will award the Prize for Understanding and Tolerance for the twenty-first time. This year’s prize goes to the writer and Nobel laureate Herta Müller and the theater and opera director Barrie Kosky. The tribute to Herta Müller will be delivered by the writer and translator Ernest Wichner; the music critic Julia Spinola will speak in praise of Barrie Kosky. Hetty Berg, director of the Jewish Museum Berlin, will present the awards.
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Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation
Since 2002, the Jewish Museum Berlin has awarded the Prize for Understanding and Tolerance to individuals from the realms of culture, politics, and business who have rendered outstanding service to the promotion of human dignity, international understanding, the integration of minorities, and the coexistence of different religions and cultures. The prize, traditionally presented at a gala dinner, is awarded jointly by the Jewish Museum Berlin and the Friends of the Jewish Museum Berlin. Last year, the Jewish Museum Berlin’s Prize for Understanding and Tolerance was awarded to Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde München und Oberbayern, and the architect Daniel Libeskind.
In their statement on the award of the prize to Herta Müller, the jury wrote:
“Her writing powerfully probes the continuing violence of dictatorships as they restrict or strip away liberties, violate human dignity, and inflict trauma. She is also an outspoken critic of power relations inside families and ethnic groups.” Furthermore:
“In a democracy, the concepts of ‘understanding’ and ‘tolerance’ have immense importance. They are about diversity as a fundamental value, recognition and respect, listening to each other, accepting the fact that others have different beliefs – about talking together and living together. What distinguishes Herta Müller is the clarity of her stance on these values: her belief that understanding and tolerance must always and only be considered in the particular, concrete context in which they are to prevail. She measures the weight of words and deeds with great precision.”
Barrie Kosky, Artistic Director of the Komische Oper Berlin from 2012 to 2022, receives the prize for his achievement in putting Jewish culture back on stage during those ten years:
“Barrie Kosky has brought forgotten operettas by Jewish composers and librettists, popular during the Weimar Republic and deeply influential for cultural life in pre-1933 Berlin, back to theater repertoires. They include Paul Abraham’s Ball at the Savoy, Oscar Strauss’s The Pearls of Cleopatra, and Jaromir Weinberger’s Spring Storms. Jewish choreographers and singers were also involved in these productions at the time. The jury added:
“Barrie Kosky is an exceptional artistic figure. Both his work and his person symbolize contemporary German-Jewish culture and German-Jewish life in Berlin – even though when interviewers ask about his Jewishness, he always emphasizes that he only speaks for himself. He offers his audiences new access to a largely forgotten domain of Jewish culture.”