German Award Ceremony 2017
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.
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:
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.
A list of all national level prize winners and their topics (in German only)