German Award Ceremony 2017

German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (second from right) | Photo: David Ausserhofer
German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (second from right) | Photo: David Ausserhofer

On 22 November, German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier honoured this year’s first prize winners of the German history competition in the Bellevue Palace Berlin. The topic of the competition was “God and the world. Religion makes history” which encouraged over 5,000 young people to participate and to send in a total of 1,639 contributions.

Catholic-communist relations in post-war Italy, consequences of the Turkish wars in Münster or the rediscovery of a Jewish cemetery: Topics like these were researched by students from Baden-Württemberg, Berlin, Hamburg, North Rine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein, who qualified for the first prizes in the history competition under the patronage of the German Federal President. During a festive event with around 170 invited guests, German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Dr. Thomas Paulsen, member of the executive board of the Körber Foundation, presented the certificates.

German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier awarded the prize winners of this year’s Germany history competition | Photo: David Ausserhofer
German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier awarded the prize winners of this year’s Germany history competition | Photo: David Ausserhofer

In his welcoming address, the Federal President emphasised: "History is not an archive in which we store experiences and then close the files. We're coming to terms with it. And in so doing, we learn something about our present. And we have the hope that this insight will also prepare us for the future". Thomas Paulsen further highlighted: “We are convinced that the critical engagement with history is a necessary precondition for an open society. In times of increasing nationalisation and isolationist politics the question of whether history serves critical enlightenment or political mobilisation, whether it allows different perspectives or relies on devaluation and exclusion, is therefore of particular importance”.

Many of the contributions submitted deal with the topic of exclusion and prosecution on the basis of religious affiliation, the relationship between state and church or religious traditions and customs.

Overview of first prize winners:

Thomas Paulsen, member of the executive board of the Koerber Foundation, tutor Regina Winkle, prize winner Federico Cassarà and German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier | Photo: David Ausserhofer
Thomas Paulsen, member of the executive board of the Koerber Foundation, tutor Regina Winkle, prize winner Federico Cassarà and German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier | Photo: David Ausserhofer

Federico Cassarà, 12th grade, Alfred-Amann-Gymnasium, Bönnigheim, Baden-Württemberg: "Catholic-communist relations in post-war Italy. Between conflict and compromise", tutor: Regine Winkle.

Thomas Paulsen, member of the executive board of the Koerber Foundation, tutor Katy Beck, prize winner Carina Ebert and German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier | Photo: David Ausserhofer
Thomas Paulsen, member of the executive board of the Koerber Foundation, tutor Katy Beck, prize winner Carina Ebert and German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier | Photo: David Ausserhofer

Carina Ebert, 9th grade, Annette-von-Droste-Hülshoff-Gymnasium, Münster, Northrhine-Westphalia: “’The hereditary enemy of the Christian name the Great-Turk’. Consequences of the Turkish wars in Münster and their forms of expression between the 16th and the 20th century”, tutor: Katy Beck.

Thomas Paulsen, member of the executive board of the Koerber Foundation, tutor Tim Petersen, prize winners Till Fischer, Kyra Sepke, Jonna Silber, Lea Zech and German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier | Photo: David Ausserhofer
Thomas Paulsen, member of the executive board of the Koerber Foundation, tutor Tim Petersen, prize winners Till Fischer, Kyra Sepke, Jonna Silber, Lea Zech and German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier | Photo: David Ausserhofer

Till Fischer, Kyra Sepke, Jonna Silber und Lea Zech, 9th grade, Christian-Timm-Schule, Rendsburg, Schleswig-Holstein: “Jewish cemetery, Westerrönfeld”, tutor: Tim Petersen.

Thomas Paulsen, member of the executive board of the Koerber Foundation, tutor Bettina Fensch, prize winner Helena Koch and German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier | Photo: David Ausserhofer
Thomas Paulsen, member of the executive board of the Koerber Foundation, tutor Bettina Fensch, prize winner Helena Koch and German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier | Photo: David Ausserhofer

Helena Koch, 12th grade, Gelehrtenschule des Johanneums, Hamburg: „Never despair?! The Riegner telegram”, tutor: Bettina Fensch.

Thomas Paulsen, member of the executive board of the Koerber Foundation, prize winner Julius von Stein and German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier  | Photo: David Ausserhofer
Thomas Paulsen, member of the executive board of the Koerber Foundation, prize winner Julius von Stein and German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier | Photo: David Ausserhofer

Julius von Stein, 9th grade, Gymnasium Steglitz, Berlin: “Martin Niemöller: Courage for Christian resistance - church struggle in Dahlem”, no tutor.

About the German History Competition

Since 1973, the Hamburg based Körber-Foundation and the office of the German Federal President’s Office have been organising the history competition, which is based on the initiative by former Federal President Gustav Heinemann and Hamburg entrepreneur and donour Kurt A. Körber. The “Geschichtswettbewerb des Bundespräsidenten” has become Germany’s largest historical research competition for young people with more than 141,000 participants and approximately 31,500 submissions to date. The competition is announced in a two-year cycle with changing topics.

 

Further Link

A list of all national level prize winners and their topics (in German only)


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