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Galadinner 2006, Concert with Daniel Barenboim (piano) and Nabil Shehata (Upright bass)

Prize for Understanding and Tolerance

Since 2002, the Jewish Museum Berlin and the Friends and Patrons of the Jewish Museum Berlin have presented the annual Prize for Understanding and Tolerance. The award honors businesspeople, cultural figures, and politicians who have rendered outstanding service in the interest of understanding and tolerance.
“Tolerance is anything but arbitrariness.” —Angela Merkel

The award ceremony is traditionally held at an anniversary gala dinner to which the museum invites numerous friends and guests from the realms of politics, business, culture, and the media. The proceeds from the dinners go to support the museum’s educational work for children and youth.

“Tolerance is... anything but arbitrariness. Tolerance is the ability to engage in serious dialogue, accept that others think differently, and see them as an asset.” This is how Chancellor Angela Merkel defined the word in 2006 in her speech presenting the award to Helmut Panke.

Award Winners

The following people have received the Prize for Understanding and Tolerance to date:

Year awarded Award winner
2021 Charlotte Knobloch, President of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria
Daniel Libeskind, architect
2020 Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State
Igor Levit, pianist
2019 Heiko Maas, German Minister of Foreign Affairs
Anselm Kiefer, artist
2018 Susanne Klatten, entrepreneur
David Grossman, writer
2017 Joachim Gauck, former President of Germany
Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens AG
2016 Renate Lasker-Harpprecht and Anita Lasker Wallfisch, historical eyewitnesses
Hasso Plattner, businessman
2015 W. Michael Blumenthal, Founding Director of the Jewish Museum Berlin
2014 Hubert Burda, publisher
Wolfgang Schäuble, Federal Finance Minister
2013 Berthold Leibinger, associate of the TRUMPF Group
Iris Berben, actor
2012 Klaus Mangold, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Rothschild GmbH (Frankfurt and Moscow)
Richard von Weizsäcker, former President of Germany
2011 Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
2010 Jan Philipp Reemtsma, literature scholar
Hubertus Erlen, business executive
2009 Franz Fehrenbach and Christof Bosch, both as representatives of the Bosch company
Michael Verhoeven, film director
2008 Roland Berger, corporate consultant
Imre Kertész, Nobel Laureate in Literature
2007 Helmut Kohl, former Chancellor of Germany
Fritz Stern, historian
2006 Daniel Barenboim, General Music Director of the Berlin State Oper
Helmut Panke, business executive
2005 Heinz Berggruen, art collector and patron
Otto Graf Lambsdorff, former Federal Minister of Germany
2004 Michael Otto, businessman
Johannes Rau, former President of Germany
2003 Otto Schily, former Interior Minister of Germany
Friede Springer, publisher
2002 Berthold Beitz, former Chairman of the Curatorium of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach Foundation
Heinrich von Pierer, former Chairman of the Siemens AG Board

Audio recording of the acceptance speech by the 2015 award winner, W. Michael Blumenthal (in German); Jewish Museum Berlin, 2015


Johanna Brandt
Managing Director
T +49 (0)30 259 93 553
F +49 (0)30 259 93 432


Jewish Museum Berlin
Lindenstraße 9–14
10969 Berlin

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Audio Recordings: Listen to Past Museum Events (65)