HAWAR.help at Leo-Baeck-Preis

Each investment in the education and emotional capacity of the next generation is “our investment in an open society. A society we do not want destroyed by intolerance – be it from right- or left-wing radicals, Islamists or terrorists.”

Hawar.help’s mission strongly echoes this sentiment, expressed by Mathias Döpfner during his acceptance speech as the winner of this year’s Leo-Baeck-Preis; an award given by the Central Council of Jews in Germany to honor individuals who have made laudable efforts in combatting anti-Semitism. Our team felt honored to have been invited to the Gala-Dinner at Berlin’s Pariser Platz last week and bear witness to the CEO of Axel Springer SE (inter alia BILD) receiving the Central Council’s highest honor.

The award commemorates Rabbi Leo Baeck (1873-1956), who was a leading figure for Jews during Germany’s darkest era. Since 1957, the Central Council (German name: Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland) has honored many distinguished personalities, including Helmut Kohl (1997), Friede Springer (2000), and Angela Merkel (2007) for their exceptional services to the Jewish community.

During the ceremony, Döpfner explained how he had made the fight against anti-Semitism his personal mission after falling in love with his Jewish classmate with whom he watched the TV series “Holocaust” at the tender age of 16. In his moving reminiscence, Döpfner recounted the thought that sewed the seed for his later legacy. He remembered telling himself at the time: “If I ever have anything to say in life, if I have any influence, then I will do my utmost to ensure that it never happens again”, a statement our team strongly identifies with.

We at Hawar.help know all too well, that the wider social dehumanization of certain groups and the buildup of public hostility associated herewith, should be a concern to all of us (especially here in Germany). It is unfortunate that there are tragic commonalities between the plight of the Jewish and the Yazidi people, as well as other persecuted groups. This is why we are very grateful for having been part of this important ceremony and would like to express our utmost gratitude to the Central Council for having invited us.