Berlin, Germany, October 18, 2006 … Former German Minister of the Interior Otto Schily 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. The award recognizes his years of service in government and his extraordinary leadership against bigotry and anti-Semitism.
Barbara B. Balser, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, presented the award at an event in Berlin attended by an ADL leadership delegation.
"During his seven years as Germany's Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily repeatedly spoke out against anti-Semitism and endorsed initiatives supporting the re-emergence of Jewish life in Germany sixty years after the Holocaust," said Abraham H. Foxman. "Time and again he has demonstrated his abhorrence of terrorism and taken action reflective of the very best in civil courage and democratic conduct, setting a standard for others to emulate."
"Grim history has taught the unforgettable consequences of inaction, of silence, of indifference. Minister Schily has learned those lessons well and determined his fellow citizens of Germany and all of Europe shall learn them once and for all time."
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.
Previous recipients of the award include Professor Gert Weisskirchen, Member of the Bundestag and Personal Representative of the Chairman-in Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Rudolf Scharping, former German Minister of Defense and Dr. Rita Süssmuth, former President of the Bundestag.