International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel Awarded with Buber-Rosenzweig Medal
Anette AdelmannICCJ General Secretary
At the end of August ICCJ's German member organization "Deutscher Koordinierungsrat" (DKR) honored the German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her achievements in promoting understanding between Christians and Jews. A report by the Protestant President of the DKR, Friedhelm Pieper
German Council of Christians and Jews: Honoring the German Chancellor Angela Merkel with Buber-Rosenzweig Medal
by Rev. Friedhelm Pieper, Protestant President of the DKR, Germany
On August 31, 2021, Chancellor Merkel received the Buber-Rosenzweig Medal from the German Council of Christians and Jews, the “Deutscher Koordinierungsrat” (DKR). The honor recognizes her achievements in promoting understanding between Christians and Jews. Originally, the award ceremony was to take place in 2020, but was postponed to this year due to the pandemic.
Reverend Friedhelm Pieper, Protestant President of the DKR, addressed the German Chancellor: “Dear Chancellor, today we would like to focus on one particular aspect of your commitment and government action. It is your commitment to the promotion of Jewish life in Germany, to the understanding between Jews and non-Jews, your resolute stand against anti-Semitism and your unequivocal solidarity with Israel”.
Laudatory speech was given by the President of the Jewish Council in Germany, Dr. Josef Schuster. He expressed the high esteem in which the Jewish community holds the Chancellor. The passing of the circumcision law in the Bundestag was also due in decisive measure to the committed efforts of Angela Merkel. In the Knesset in Israel, the Chancellor had declared that the security of Israel was part of the reason of state of the Federal Republic of Germany. Finally, during her visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, Merkel pointed out the increasing attacks on liberal democracy and declared: "Auschwitz reminds and obliges each of us to be vigilant every day, to preserve humanity and to protect the dignity of our neighbor.” Schuster congratulated Chancellor Merkel on behalf of the Jewish Community in Germany on receiving the Buber-Rosenzweig-Medal.
Award both an honor and an incentive
"It is our lasting task to strengthen and protect Jewish life in Germany," Chancellor Merkel emphasized in her words of thanks. She referred, by way of example, to the attack in Halle in October 2019 or anti-Semitic riots in front of synagogues, the trivialization of the Holocaust in the course of demonstrations against measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic, and time and again through attacks on men wearing a kippah. This should not be tolerated, the chancellor said. She demanded that society defend itself against racism, anti-Semitism and any form of group-based hostility to human beings by all means and with all the consistency of the rule of law. "I feel the award of the Buber-Rosenzweig Medal as an honor, but above all in these times also as an incentive for our ongoing commitment to the values of our democracy, tolerance and the dignity of the individual. Respecting them is also a prerequisite for the cohesion of our society," Merkel said.
"Open your mouth for the others"
The medal is named after the Jewish philosophers Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig. It stands for special commitment to understanding between Christians and Jews. Since 1968, the medal has been awarded regularly at the opening ceremony of the Week of Brotherhood. The latter has its origins in 1952, and since then the Societies for Christian-Jewish Cooperation have organized events every year to draw attention to the objective and the respective theme of the year. In 2020 this was "Open your mouth for the others".