Book Trade Peace Prize to historian of Holocaust
At the close of the Frankfurt Book Fair, the German book trade will present its 25,000-euro annual peace prize to Saul Friedlaender, a historian of the Holocaust.
The 74-year-old, French-educated, Israeli academic is being honoured for "restoring the stolen dignity of the victims of the Holocaust, a recognition of which is the basis of peace."
The annual prize, instituted in 1950, is Germany's most prestigious literary award, though strictly speaking it does not honour writing, but rather contributions to the spirit of peace through literature, scholarship or art.
The October 14 ceremony in a Frankfurt historic monument, the Church of St Paul, will be attended by top German government figures.
When it announced its choice, the prize committee said Friedlaender was an "epic storyteller" of the persecution of the Jews under the Nazis who, having lived through the Holocaust himself, refused to describe it in distant terms.
"He precisely describes the classic triad of violence: the attackers and their obsessions, the victims and their despair and the silent majority of witnesses and their shock," the committee said.
Professor Friedlaender was born in the Czech capital Prague in 1932. His Jewish family took refuge in France and he attended a Catholic boarding school. His parents were imprisoned in France and killed by the Nazis, probably at Auschwitz.
He has written a major two-volume study of the Holocaust and since his retirement has lived mainly in Los Angeles.
The peace prize, which is administered by the Boersenverein, the association of German publishers and booksellers, has been awarded in the past to figures such as Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe (2002) and Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk (2005).
09 October 2007
Subject: German news