The prestigious Leon Zelman Prize for Dialogue and Understanding is awarded every fall. This year, the award went to historian Michaela Raggam-Blesch, who received the prize at a ceremony in mid-September at Vienna City Hall. The award was presented by Peter Florianschütz, Member of the Provincial Parliament and City Councilor, representing the Mayor of Vienna, Michael Ludwig.
Michaela Raggam-Blesch is considered to be the “most renowned Holocaust researcher of her generation”, as historian Heidemarie Uhl noted in her laudatory speech. The jury’s statement on the award added: “Through her many years of extensive research and mediation work, the award winner … makes a significant contribution to raising public awareness of the Shoah and its consequences for the Jewish population. In her publications as well as in her curatorial activities for exhibitions, Raggam-Blesch makes it clear that “disenfranchisement, deprivation, expulsion, and persecution of Viennese Jews took place in the heart of the city, right under the eyes of the Viennese population.”
“My work,” said Raggam-Blesch in her acceptance speech, “is always about making the people behind the numbers visible and reconstructing the stories of those who until now had only appeared as names on a deportation list. … In the course of my work, I have had the privilege of meeting many more contemporary witnesses in person and also of becoming friends with several of them.”
Caroline Shklarek-Zelman, daughter of Leon Zelman, Maya Karmely Sommer, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Israeli Embassy representing Ambassador Mordechai Rodgold, Claudia Prutscher, Vice-President of the Jewish Community, Anita Dumfahrt, Secretary General of the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria, as well as numerous academic colleagues of the award winner participated in the ceremony.
Source: APA OTS
- Photos of the prize-giving (Facebook)
- Short portrait of the award winner (YouTube)
- Laudatory speech by Heidemarie Uhl to download (in German)
- More information