Award Ceremony and Seminar

“We can now remember our Jewish neighbors – so they won’t be forgotten.”

“The greatest thing for us was that Mrs. Friedländer was there. We were touched by what she said,” was how the students of the Martin Buber School in Giessen described their encounter with Margot Friedländer at the award ceremony. The special school for mental and motor development won a prize for the very first time and was honoured with two other projects from Hessen and Saarland on 13 May 2019 in the Max-Liebermann-Haus in Berlin.

The first prize went to the project “Paths of remembrance in the community of Nohfelden” of the community school Nohfelden-Türkismühle, Saarland. The Stolperstein-AG creates an extracurricular place of learning about traces of Jewish life in the villages of Sötern, Gonnesweiler and Bosen by developing and setting up information boards and hiking day concepts. “Without the prize we would not be able to realize our project. We can now remember our Jewish neighbours – so that they are not forgotten. The encounter with Margot Friedländer moved us deeply. We want to pass on her message,” said the winners.

The second prize went to the Martin Buber School in Giessen, Hessen, for its project “Getting Stones Rolling”. In this project, the entire school is actively involved in designing a monument in Giessen as a joint testimony to the fact that everyone has dealt with the Holocaust and the memory of the victims in their own individual way. “The greatest thing for us was that Mrs. Friedländer was there. We were touched by what she said.”

The Heinrich Böll School in Hattersheim, Hessen, was awarded third prize for its exhibition project “‘Expulsions into Exile’ – Background to the First Expulsion List of the National Socialists of August 1933”. The group has created an exhibition, would now like to present it at other locations and plans to publish a booklet. “We were very impressed by the scope and location of the event, but above all by Margot Friedländer’s loving nature, her energy and her commitment.

For her part, Margot Friedländer was very pleased with the commitment of the young people: “What is this award for? It is not for a sporting success or a good essay that you have written. It is rather a tribute to something infinitely important, to your human commitment.”

Stefan Zierke, Parliamentary State Secretary, delivered the laudatory speech and represented Federal Minister Franziska Giffey. “Looking around today, I am sure that we are on the right track. The Margot Friedländer Award shows how many great, creative ideas you have to strengthen our democracy. You make it clear: They were people to whom unbelievable suffering and injustice were done. From their fellow men, from their neighbours, sometimes even from former friends. You show how important it is to stay human.”

For the first time this year, the Margot Friedländer Award will be judged by a Young Jury, which will hand over its recommendation for the most prize-worthy and especially youth-friendly projects 2019 to Margot Friedländer and the members of the jury she has appointed. Simeon-Joel Brunner, member of the Young Jury: “I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving young people the opportunity to gain an insight into the work of the jury and also to deal with the topics such as anti-Semitism, racism and exclusion”.

Sponsors of the Margot Friedrichländer Prize are the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth within the framework of the federal programme “Living Democracy!”, EY (former Ernst &Young) and the Berliner Sparkasse.

Kai Uwe Peter, Berliner Sparkasse: “We are the last generation that can meet the survivors of the Holocaust personally. From this arises a special obligation for us to carry on the memory – with the same passion and joy of life with which the wonderful Margot Friedländer approaches young people every day”.

Hubert Barth, CEO of EY Germany: “It is young people who will shape our society and the way we live together in the future. It depends on them whether we can maintain our tolerant and democratic society. That is why the Margot Friedländer Prize is a valuable sign: It gives pupils the opportunity to deal intensively with anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism and in this way to become vigilant against all forms of racism and exclusion”.

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