This year’s Lothar Kreyssig Peace Prize was awarded to the historian and writer Christoph Heubner in the Johanniskirche church, Magdeburg.
For many decades, the Executive Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee has dedicated himself to preserving and passing on the memories of survivors, especially to young people. His is an important voice that speaks out against anti-Semitism and the distortion of history, and champions democratic diversity, tolerance and philanthropy. This was the basis of the jury’s decision.
Andrzej Kacorzyk, Deputy Director of the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau stated that Christoph Heubner firmly pursues to his objectives with courage and conviction, determined to prevent the memories of the survivors from vanishing into oblivion. And this includes cultivating the connections between young people and the survivors. Christoph Heubner is not a visitor in Auschwitz, he is an integral part of it. “With your work you are the giant upon whose shoulders we all stand in order to gain a better perspective and to understand,” said Andrzej Kacorzyk.
Marian Turski (97), Auschwitz survivor and President of the International Auschwitz Committee from Warsaw, said to Christoph Heubner in his speech: “You share our burden with us. And for this we are sincerely grateful. Your contribution for the survivors of Auschwitz is momentous. It is very important that you take over the baton.”
Franziska Weidinger, Minister of Justice for the state of Saxony-Anhalt, thanked Christoph Heubner for his huge and varied contributions towards remembrance work.
Regina-Dolores Stieler-Hinz, Mayor of Magdeburg, expressed her hope that Christoph Heubner’s achievements will carry on resounding decisively.
In his speech of acceptance for the Lothar Kreyssig Peace Prize, Christoph Heubner announced that he would be donating the award of 3,000 euros to the project in remembrance of the Auschwitz survivor Justin Sonder. A sculpture will be erected in Chemnitz in memory of Justin Sonder.
Lothar Kreyssig (1898-1986) was the only German judge to oppose the programme of murder by euthanasia carried out by the Nazis. He barely escaped being sent to a concentration camp, and in 1958 he founded the Aktion Sühnezeichen (The Action Reconciliation Service for Peace). This was the 23rd presentation of the Lothar Kreyssig Peace Prize which is awarded every two years.
Pictures: IAK /Eva Oertwig/SCHROEWIG News & Images