Professor Weisskirchen Honored For Promoting Democracy, Diversity, Tolerance And Holocaust Education
Warsaw, Poland, May 6, 2005 … Professor Gert Weisskirchen, a member of the Bundestag, Germany's Parliament, received the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) Paul Ehrlich-Gunther K. Schwerin Human Rights Award honoring Europe's most distinguished leaders in the fight against intolerance.
Weisskirchen serves as Personal Representative of the Chairman-in Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Vice President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, presented him the award at a Shabbat dinner attended by more than 170 participants of the League's delegation to the March of the Living, an international and educational program that brings more than 18,000 individuals to see the remnants of the Holocaust and modern day State of Israel.
Mr. Foxman said:
ADL applauds Professor Gert Weisskirchen's leadership efforts in combating anti-Semitism and as a personal exemplar of humanity and human decency. As Europeans and the OSCE have better understood the alarming dangers of anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry and intolerance, trying to gain a foothold in Europe, and have worked to combat the forces of stereotypes and politically camouflaged excuses on the Continent, we are all fortunate to have turned to men and women like him to set the standard for zero tolerance and vigorous concentration.
Professor Weisskirchen's leadership and determination in the OSCE and at its Berlin Conference on Anti-Semitism have resulted in governments collecting and analyzing data on hate crimes, training police and educating children about tolerance and measuring the effectiveness of those steps.
Rudolf Scharping, former German Minister of Defense, was the last recipient of the award in 2000. He was recognized for a Wehrmacht sergeant's act of courage in saving the lives of 2,500 Jews during World War II.
The Paul Ehrlich-Gunther K. Schwerin Human Rights Award was established in 1998 by ADL in conjunction with a descendant of Professor Paul Ehrlich to honor the late Gunther Schwerin, grandson of the renowned German-Jewish scientist, and Dr. Ehrlich, discoverer of the cure for a disease that had ravaged people for centuries. More than a great scientist, Ehrlich was a great humanitarian who represented the best in German and German-Jewish society before the Nazi Juggernaut destroyed both. Schwerin upheld his grandfather's legacy to battle intolerance and established this award to honor those who have fought anti-Semitism throughout Germany and Europe.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.