October 27th, 2005

Leo Baeck Award 2005 for Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Peter Hommelhoff

The Central Council of Jews in Germany has chosen rial unicode ms" font-weight normal >Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Peter Hommelhoff, Rector of Ruprecht Karl University in Heidelberg, to receive this year’s Leo Baeck Award. In the Award Statement the Central Council of Jews above all pays tribute to the university rector’s deep commitment to the College of Jewish Studies in Heidelberg. Hommelhoff has repeatedly declared in public that the College of Jewish Studies is a special scientific institution of inestimable value to Jewish life and Jewish communities in Germany. Bearing in mind that the attitude displayed towards Jews by Ruprecht Karl University was sometimes seriously compromised in past centuries, Hommelhoff’s dedication to confronting the history of his academic establishment deserves our particular respect. Hommelhoff has never left anyone in doubt that he would do anything in his power as an academic and as a university rector to establish Jewish life firmly in our society against the backcloth of Germany’s dark history. His tireless advocacy of the right of the College of Jewish Studies to confer habilitation degrees and to participate in the Conference of Higher Education Directors are two examples among many of the efforts that Peter Hommelhoff has invested in reconciling Germans and Jews. It is to his credit that the two institutions co-operate so intensely and are engaged in a flourishing academic partnership.

In memory of the Jewish scholar and rabbi Leo Baeck (1873-1956), the Central Council of Jews in Germany has been awarding this prize since 1956 to people who have made an outstanding contribution on behalf of the Jewish community in Germany.

The presentation of the Leo Baeck Award 2005 will take place on Tuesday, 6 December 2005 at 11 a.m. in the Alte Aula of Ruprecht Karl University in Heidelberg.