International Human Rights Award for Political Courage
Stand up for Human Rights: The Theodor Haecker Award is one of the most important awards that the city of Esslingen am Neckar can bestow.
Call For Proposals for the Theodor Haecker Award 2023!
Proposals can now be submitted for a worthy laureate to receive the “Theodor Haecker Award of the City of Esslingen am Neckar – International Human Rights Award for Political Courage” 2023.
Nominations can be submitted worldwide by individuals, initiatives, or groups from different areas of public life who make outstanding endeavors to promote democracy, freedom, peace, and humanity, and whose work seems worthy of the tradition of Haecker.
Proposals and applications for the “Theodor Haecker Honorary Award 2023” can also be submitted. Individuals, groups, or institutions (including schools or school classes) can be nominated that take an outstanding approach to issues relevant in Germany such as democracy, radicalism, violence, discrimination, racism, antisemitism, and antifascism, or who have made outstanding contributions to researching the life and work of Theodor Haecker.
Send your proposals by February 6, 2022 to:
City of Esslingen am Neckar
73728 Esslingen am Neckar
“Men no longer test words to see what truth there is in them. The majority are only interested in knowing what their effect will be”.
(Theodor Haecker, 1879–1945)
Who was Theodor Haecker?
The philosopher, cultural critic, and writer was born on June 4, 1879, in Eberbach, Württemberg, but lived for many years in Esslingen. He is considered the mentor of Hans and Sophie Scholl.
“Your fame is without luster. It sheds no light. You are spoken of because you have and are the best machines. And in the world’s astonishment, there is not a spark of love. Without love, there is no luster. You regard yourselves as chosen, because you build the best machines, the best machines of war, and serve them best.”
(Theodor Haecker: To the Germans 1941)
Haecker was passionate in his opposition to National Socialism and was therefore banned from speaking in public in 1935 and from publishing printed works in 1938. It was during this time that he wrote his most important work, the journal titled “Journal in the Night” (“Tag- und Nachtbücher”). The journal is among the most impressive reflections on fascism. It documents an intellectual’s inner resistance against National Socialism.
The Christian-motivated resistance against the Hitler regime regarded Haecker’s achievements to be an important foundation. Haecker was born on June 4, 1879, in Eberbach, Württemberg, and died on April 9, 1945, in Ustersbach.
A Mentor of the White Rose
Haecker hatte Bindungen an den Kreis um die Geschwister Scholl. In den Flugblättern der Weißen Rose veröffentliche er mehrfach Auszüge seiner "Tag- und Nachtbücher".
Haecker had links with the circle surrounding the Scholl siblings. He published several excerpts from his “Journal in the Night” in the White Rose leaflets.
An impressive account of Haecker’s charisma is handed down from Sophie Scholl:
“His words fall slowly like drops, which you can see gathering in advance and which fall under this expectation with a very special weight. He has a very quiet face, a look as though he would look toward the inside. Nobody ever convinced me with his countenance as he did.”
(Sophie Scholl to Fritz Hartnagel, February 7, 1943)
Guidelines for the Presentation of the Theodor Haecker Award of the City of Esslingen am Neckar – International Human Rights Award for Political Courage
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the death of the philosopher, cultural critic, and writer, Theodor Haecker, the City of Esslingen am Neckar established the Theodor Haecker Award for Political Courage and Sincerity. It is presented every three years to personalities or groups who have earned it with their outstanding efforts to promote human rights, peace, and democracy.
From 2023 the award will be advertised and presented under the title “Theodor Haecker Award of the City of Esslingen am Neckar – International Human Rights Award for Political Courage".
- The International Human Rights Award is presented every three years. The award is publicly advertised. Self-nomination for the award is not permitted. The prize is awarded following a decision taken by the Cultural Committee based on nominations submitted by the public, the municipal council, the award administrative body, and different organizations. Nominated candidates are researched by the award administrative body with support from specialists.
- The International Human Rights Award is given to a person or group in public life that has made outstanding efforts to promote human rights, democracy, freedom, peace, and humanity.
- The monetary prize for the International Human Rights Award is 10,000 euros.
- A ceremony will be held by the municipal authorities in Esslingen am Neckar to honor the award winners. They will be presented with a certificate as an outward sign of the award. The city of Esslingen will cover travel and accommodation expenses for the award ceremony. Where possible, the award winners should arrive in Esslingen a week before the award ceremony and actively participate in the city’s program of events.
- Presentation of the award may be suspended if the proposals received for evaluation do not appear worthy of the prize and that do not comply with these principles. There is no legal entitlement to the award.
- In addition to the award, a person or group may receive the “Theodor Haecker Honorary Award”. The Theodor Haecker Honorary Award is publicly announced at the same time as the Human Rights Award. The Theodor Haecker Honorary Award is awarded to people who are active in Germany, with a special focus on the Stuttgart region and southern Germany. Recipients of the honorary award may, in particular, include:
- Young people who have addressed the topic of “radicalism and violence” in a particularly striking manner. The honor can also be awarded to school classes or youth groups.
- Journalists who have distinguished themselves by making committed contributions on the issues of “violence”, “peace”, or “dictatorship”.
- Scholars who have edited, or published papers on the life and works of Theodor Haecker in a notable manner.
- Artists who have addressed the issues of “violence”, “peace”, or “dictatorship” in a special manner.
- The monetary prize for the Theodor Haecker Honorary Award is 1,500 euros. The recipients of the honorary award should participate in one of the functions in the city’s program of events.
- The recipient(s) of the honorary award will be officially honored at the ceremony following the presentation of the International Human Rights Award. They will also receive a certificate. Any travel and accommodation expenses will be borne by the city of Esslingen am Neckar.
- The decision as to whether, and in what form, a Theodor Haecker Honorary Award is to be presented is made by the Cultural Committee during the year in which the award is granted. There is no legal entitlement to the honorary award.
Previous Award Winners
The Theodor Haecker Award was presented for the first time in 1995 and initially every two years thereafter. Since 2017, it has been presented every three years to personalities or groups who have earned it with their outstanding efforts to promote human rights, peace, and democracy.
The Award winners (1995–2020)
- 2020 - Rugiatu 'Neneh' Turay, Sierra Leone
- 2017 - Urmila Chaudhary, Nepal
- 2015 - Laisa Santos Sampaio, Brazil
- 2013 - Leyla Yunus, Azerbaijan
- 2011 - Shiva Nazar Ahari, Iran
- 2009 - Kitwe Mulunda Guy, Democratic Republic of Congo
- 2007 - Judith Galarza, Mexico
- 2005 - Eren Keskin, Turkey
- 2003 - Laurien Ntezimana, Rwanda
- 2001 - Dr. Vesna Pesic, Serbia
- 2000 - Dr. Viktor I. Gontschar, Belarus
- 1999 - Salima Ghezali, Algeria
- 1997 - Prof. Jehan as-Sadat, Egypt
- 1995 - Sergej A. Kowaljow, Russia