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This year’s Prize for Understanding and Tolerance will be awarded to the entrepreneur Susanne Klatten and the writer David Grossman

Press Release

Press Release, Tue 6 Nov 2018

On Saturday, November 10, 2018, the Jewish Museum Berlin will present the "Prize for Understanding and Tolerance" for the seventeenth time. This year’s prize will go to the entrepren€ Susanne Klatten and the writer David Grossman.

Sociologist Prof. Hartmut Rosa will give the award presentation speech for Susanne Klatten and German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas will give the speech for David Grossman. Peter Schäfer, director of the Jewish Museum Berlin, will present the awards.

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The Prize for Understanding and Tolerance

Since 2002, the "Prize for Understanding and Tolerance" has been awarded to individuals from business, culture, and politics who have rendered outstanding service in the interest of promoting human dignity, international understanding, the integration of minorities, and the coexistence of different religions and cultures. The prize is traditionally presented at a gala anniversary dinner, awarded jointly by the Society of Friends and Sponsors of the Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation and the Museum.

Award Winner Susanne Klatten

Susanne Klatten was born in 1962 in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe, Germany. After an apprenticeship in advertising, she studied Business at the University of Buckingham and completed her MBA at IMD in Lausanne. In 1993, Susanne Klatten became a member of the supervisory board of the pharmaceutical and chemicals company ALTANA and later became its deputy chair. In 1997, she and her brother Stefan Quandt joined the supervisory board of the BMW Group. Susanne Klatten has sat on the supervisory board of SGL Carbon since 2009 and was elected as its chair in 2013.

Susanne Klatten also has close ties with the Technical University of Munich. In 2002, she established UnternehmerTUM at the university, which has been supporting start-ups from the university in developing products and services ever since. Since 2004, Susanne Klatten has been an honorary senator of the Technical University of Munich. In 2009, she donated around 10 million € to the university to endow the Susanne Klatten Foundation Professorship in Empirical Education Research at the TUM School of Education. She founded the Nantesbuch Foundation in 2012 with the aim of developing the Bavarian Prealps into a place for encounters with art and nature. The entrepren€ Susanne Klatten views her wealth foremost as a great responsibility. Her SKala Initiative, founded in April 2016, supports organizations that demonstrate a large social impact and backs people who perform dedicated, impactful work on behalf of society. Without the administrative costs of a private foundation, the philanthropist’s money is distributed in close collaboration with Phineo, a nonprofit analysis and consulting firm, to make a meaningful social impact according to predefined criteria. By 2020, the SKala Initative will have sponsored around 100 nonprofit organizations across Germany in four areas: “inclusion and participation,” “supporing competency and engagement,” “bridging generations,” and “disaster relief.” The sponsorships total 100 million €.

The nine-member jury from the board of the Friends and Patrons of the Jewish Museum Berlin explained that it made its decision on the basis of Susanne Klatten’s wide-ranging philanthropy: “For many years, Susanne Klatten has been active and pioneering in her work to help tackle important social issues in our country. Her social dedication sets a remarkable example of impact-oriented philanthropy with lasting success. In particular, her SKala Iniative is impressive in its advocacy for and support of people who contribute to improving social cohesion in Germany.”

Award Winner David Grossman

David Grossman was born in 1954 in Jerusalem. The author of novels, essays, and books for children and young adults is one of the leading writers of contemporary Israeli literature. His work has been translated into forty-five languages and been distinguished with multiple awards. In 2017, he won the British Man Booker International Prize for his novel A Horse Walks into a Bar.

David Grossman repeatedly grapples with his country’s identity, the traumas of war, and hopes for peace. In one of his best-known novels, To The End of the Land, Grossman portrays the fears of a woman whose son volunteers for military service in the West Bank. While working on the novel, Grossman’s son died in the 2006 Lebanon War. For decades, David Grossman has been an outspoken peace activist calling for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. In 2003, he signed the Geneva Initiative for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. In 2006, three months after the death of his son, Grossman gave a rousing speech in front of a crowd of 100,000 people on the eleventh anniversary of the assassination of the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. In December 2008, when Hamas began shooting rockets at Israeli cities from the Gaza Strip, he demanded that his country exercise restraint: “We have a duty to protect the civilian population, precisely because Israel is much stronger than Hamas. We absolutely must beware the maelstrom of violence that has engulfed us too often in the past.” For his efforts, he was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 2010. In April 2018, David Grossman received the Israel Prize for Literature, his country’s highest cultural honor.

In its decision to confer the Prize for Understanding and Tolerance to David Grossman, the jury wrote: “David Grossman has not only made an international name for himself as a writer, but he has stood out for his brave participation in the social debates of his country. His personal advocacy for peace and relevant social issues, which is reflected in his literary work and his contributions to current affairs, inspired us to award David Grossman with this year’s prize.”

Press Accreditation

Please confirm your attendance on Thursday, November 8, 2018, by email ( or telephone: +49 (0)30 25 993 419.

Prizewinners, 2002-2017

Past recipients of the Jewish Museum Berlin Prize for Understanding and Tolerance: 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 (2002), former Federal Minister for Internal Affairs Otto Schily and publisher Friede Springer (2003), the entrepren€ Michael Otto and former Federal President Johannes Rau (2004), the art collector and patron Heinz Berggruen and the politician Otto Graf Lambsdorff (2005), Daniel Barenboim, General Music Director of the Berlin State Opera, and the BMW manager Helmut Panke (2006), former Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the historian Fritz Stern (2007), the corporate consultant Roland Berger and the Hungarian Nobel Laureate in Literature Imre Kertész (2008), Franz Fehrenbach, Chairman of the Board of the Robert Bosch GmbH, and Christof Bosch, spokesperson for the family and member of the Supervisory Board of the Robert Bosch Foundation GmbH – both as representatives of the Bosch Group – and the film director Michael Verhoeven (2009), literary scholar Jan Philipp Reemtsma and the business executive Hubertus Erlen (2010), Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (2011), Klaus Mangold, chairman of the Supervisory Board of Rothschild GmbH (Frankfurt and Moscow), and former Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker (2012), Berthold Leibinger, Trumpf GmbH, and actress Iris Berben (2013), publisher Hubert Burda and German Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble (2014), W. Michael Blumenthal, founding director of the Jewish Museum Berlin (2015), and last year historical eyewitnesses Renate Lasker-Harpprecht and Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, the businessman Hasso Plattner (2016), and last year Joe Kaeser, Siemens President and CEO, and Joachim Gauck, former President of the Federal Republic of Germany.

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