Friday it was an award-ceremony at the Willy-Brandt House in Berlin, the house of the German Social-Democratic party SPD. The prize is also a prize belonging to this political party, and they have handed it out every year since 2002.
FOTO: Linn Husby
WHO WAS REGINE HILDEBRANDT? The prize´s name honors Regine Hildebrandt who was known as a German politician with the nick-names "Voice of the East" and "Mother Courage" by her many admirers because of her battles on behalf of the citizens of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). She was the most popular Social Democratic (SPD) woman politician, and the prize was founded and named after her after she lost the three-year battle against breast cancer in 2001. In 1991 she was voted Germany's "Woman of the Year", and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder called her "the political interpreter of the East". She also charmed her audiences, especially in Berlin, by working Berlin dialect into her speeches.
ASF´S WINNING PROJECT
This is a project that I am working with in my volunteer-service at the organization. I am assisting in a film project that ASF are making about this. The project and the film is called "Stadtteilmütter, auf den Spuren der Geschichte" (english: "The mothers of the quarter, in search for the trace of the history").
ASF´s winning project is a very interesting project with foreign immigrants, that do integrations-work. Here other immigrants, with less knowledge, geth help to better integrate in Germany from people that themself are not etnical germans. That project, the "Stadtteilmütter-project", in itself has noting to do with ASF, but now they have a project going on that means that these "integrating-mothers" learn more about the history from the World War 2, and especially what happend to the Jews. Today, they live in Germany, and off course, that makes them having to deal with this history almost every day. Here they cooperate with ASF, and this project is what ASF wan a prize fore Friday.
One of the interesting part of this is the fact that many of these women has a muslimic background, and therefore it has not always been the easiest step for them to conciliate themself with people with jewish background, considering that many of them these days sympatice with the palestinan people, and not with the israelis (where most jews today live). But as one of them said in an interview; "it is possible to part the politics of Israel with its people and its religion". Many have also explained that they feel social similarities with what Jews during 1933 and 1945 had to deal with in Germany. Not to the same extent, but with racisim and humiliation. This unites and creates a understandig, and not the upposit. What a great foundation for peace between an urging conflict!
The interesting about this is also the film (where I assist) about these "mothers". The plot in the film is that they are led around in the city of Berlin, where they see historical important streets and monuments important to the history of the persecution of the Jews together with an Holocaust survivor. But they also see this with their own perspective, and their background with conflicts and war. This all mixed together makes this film, and the project as a whole, very interssting. I hope the film will include english subtitles. I have already asked if this is possible, but havent got an answer yet. The norwegian ASF office has also request about this, but of course this would also be handy so that other non germans also can watch this film. I am very happy that I can be able to assist on this while I´m here!
ASF and the "Stadtteilmütter-project" won the prize together with an other project that supports elderly people. Both of the winning projects wan because they fit this years prize-motto the best: "A life without social humiliation is the basic right of all"("Ein Alltag ohne soziale Demütigung ist das Grundrecht aller")
More information about the project with Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste (ASF) in german at their web page here