President Allan J. Jacobs represented B'nai B'rith International at the presentation of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Knight Commander’s Cross) to Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel by Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The ceremony took place at the Fifth Avenue residence of Germany’s newly appointed Consul General Brita Wagener and was covered in The Jewish Daily Forward.
Excerpts from the article can be found, below:
Touting the presentation of the medal as “a humble gesture of my country showing gratitude for your lifetime achievements and relentless efforts to keep the memory alive of the worst crime in all of history—the Shoah– against the Jewish people,” minister Steinmeier declared: “With this order of Merit we want to honor the writer, the philanthropist, historian, professor, the outstanding Mentsch that you are!” During the presentation Marion Wiesel never took her eyes off Elie.
“Thank you for your words of kindness,” responded a contemplative Wiesel. “To receive a medal of recognition from Germany is not a normal thing in my life,” he said softly.
“The past is here. The past is not absent from the present. We remember things that happened two thousand years ago as if they happened yesterday. Every day in our prayers we remember the good, we remember the bad. The choice, is always ours — ultimately.”