Geschwister Korn and Gerstenmann Peace Prize awarded to Natan Sznaider

The Geschwister Korn and Gerstenmann Foundation in Frankfurt am Main awards its 2024 Peace Prize to the sociologist Natan Sznaider, who was born in Mannheim and teaches in Tel Aviv

From the Geschwister Korn and Gerstenmann Foundation press release:

The Peace Prize of the Geschwister Korn and Gerstenmann Foundation honors literary, journalistic and cultural efforts to promote peace in Israel and around the world. It is awarded every three years and is currently endowed with 50,000 euros. This makes it one of the most highly endowed cultural prizes in Germany. It was founded by Abraham Korn and his sister Rosa Gerstenmann in 1987 in memory of their niece Sarah Gerstenmann, who was murdered in the Majdanek concentration camp. Previous prize winners were: Shimon Peres (2001), Amos Oz (2003), Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said (2006), Sari Nusseibeh and Itamar Rabinovich (2009), Avi Primor (2012), Tom Segev (2015), Lizzie Doron with Mirjam Pressler (2018) and Joseph Croitoru (2021).

Natan Sznaider was born in Mannheim in 1954 as the son of Holocaust survivors from Poland and moved to Israel at the age of 20, where he studied sociology, psychology, philosophy and history at Tel Aviv University after working in kibbutzim. In 1984, he moved to Columbia University in New York. There he received his doctorate in 1992 with a thesis on the “Social History of Compassion” (published in 2001: “The Compassionate Temperament: Care and Cruelty in Modern Society”). From 1994 to 2023, he taught as Professor of Sociology and Sociology of the Holocaust at the Tel Aviv Graduate School.

Sznaider coined the term “cosmopolitan memory” (2001/2007) in the global age, based on Holocaust memorial days, Holocaust museums and other supranational “places of remembrance”. With “Ged├Ąchtnisraum Europa” (2008), he developed a Jewish perspective on cosmopolitanism in the 21st century based on Hannah Arendt’s writings. In the debate that has been going on since 2020 about the new competition between the Holocaust and colonialism in collective memory (“Fluchtpunkte der Erinnerung. On the Presence of Holocaust and Colonialism”, Munich 2022), Sznaider analyzes the various positions and doubts the compatibility of opposing memory discourses: namely when the Holocaust is downgraded to a merely particular experience and the existence of Israel is called into question.

Since the second Intifada in 2002, Sznaider has had a respectful and friendly discussion with the writer and German-Iranian Navid Kermani about “Israel – A Correspondence” (published by Hanser Verlag after October 7, 2023). In July, his latest book will be published by Hanser: “Die J├╝dische Wunde: Leben zwischen Anpassung und Autonomie”.

The Geschwister Korn and Gerstenmann Foundation honors the prizewinner’s literary work for peace in Israel and the world, in particular his publications on cosmopolitan Holocaust remembrance and the competition for remembrance between the Holocaust and colonialism.

The award ceremony will take place on May 26, 2024 at the Ignaz Bubis Community Center of the Jewish Community Frankfurt am Main; the laudatory speech will be held by Munich historian Michael Brenner.

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