Nominations are open for the Simon Wiesenthal Prize, a new initiative by the The National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism to honour commitment from civil society to combatting antisemitism and promoting Holocaust education.
The prize is the first initiative of its kind in Europe honouring efforts from civil society in the fight against antisemitism and/or Holocaust education.
The idea of establishing the prize arose during a trip to Israel in July 2018, during which Austrian National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka met the granddaughter of Simon Wiesenthal, Rachel Kreisberg.
The National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism, established at the Austrian Parliament, is responsible for administrative matters relating to the award. The Board of Trustees, headed by the President of the Austrian National Council, will decide on the basis of a shortlist compiled by a six-member jury.
The Simon Wiesenthal Prize jury comprises the President of the Jewish Religious Community in Austria, recognised figures from public and cultural life in Austria and abroad, individuals with an academic reputation in the field of contemporary history or in another relevant academic discipline and representatives of Simon Wiesenthal’s family. The jury members are to be appointed for the duration of one legislative period. Current members of the jury include EJC Vice-President Dr. Ariel Muzicant, Jewish community of Vienna (IKG) President Oskar Deutsch, and European Commission Coordinator on Combating antisemitism Katharina von Schnurbein.
The aim of the work of the possible award winners is to communicate actively, strengthen and disseminate knowledge about the Holocaust, sharpen society‘s understanding of the mechanisms and consequences of antisemitism, and raise awareness about contemporary dangers of antisemitism.
Prospective prizewinners have made an outstanding contribution – through projects, initiatives or in other meaningful ways – towards combating antisemitism and/or educating the public about the Holocaust by:
- actively fostering, consolidating and imparting knowledge and awareness about the Holocaust;
- raising awareness in society about the dangers of antisemitism in the present;
- increasing understanding of the mechanisms and consequences of antisemitism and thereby strengthening democratic culture in everyday life;
- acting as a beacon of civil courage, thereby highlighting the value and importance of the involvement of each and every individual;
- advocating for measures to counteract antisemitism and all forms of Holocaust relativisation;
- fostering understanding and sensitivity in areas where a critical attitude towards antisemitism should be particularly encouraged;
- contributing to the development of a common awareness in the fight against antisemitism or otherwise contributing towards a culture of remembrance that is innovative, sustainable and dedicated to educating people.
Individuals, as well as civil society organizations in Austria and abroad may be nominated for the prize. Candidates may submit an entry in their own right or be nominated by a third party.
The Simon Wiesenthal Prize is endowed with an annual sum of €30,000. It is awarded in two categories:
- Civic engagement to combat antisemitism (€7,500)
- Civic engagement to promote Holocaust education (€7,500)
In addition, a main prize endowed with (€15,000) will be awarded for outstanding civic engagement to combat antisemitism and/or promote Holocaust education.
Entries must be submitted online using the form available on the Simon Wiesenthal Prize website. Attachments must be uploaded electronically.
The entry should state why the candidate(s) would be (a) worthy recipient(s) of the prize and demonstrate the candidate’s achievements in the areas set out in the Prize Announcement.
On the entry form the candidate must provide all information required by the National Fund to
- ensure that the candidate meets the formal entry requirements.
- examine whether the activities subject of the entry comply with the objectives of the prize.
Nominations will be open until 30 September 2021.