December 15, 2014

Pastor Annemarie Werner receives accolade in Berlin

Pastor Annemarie Werner received the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Medal. The prestigious award was presented by the Wallenberg Foundation in recognition to her lifelong commitment to the interfaith dialog, to social and human rights causes and her unwavering contribution to preserving and divulging the legacy the rescuers of the Holocaust.

The ceremony took place on December 11th, 2014, at the residence of the Israeli Ambassador in Berlin, Mr. Yakov Hadas-Handelsman. Danny Rainer, Vice-President of the IRWF and head of its Israeli office, represented the Foundation created by Baruch Tenembaum and chaired by Eduardo Eurnekian.

The crowded audience included religious dignitaries, such as Rabbi Ernst Stein, the Papal Nuncio Dr. Nicola Eterovic, Rabbi Teichtal and Father Ulf-Martin Schmidt, from the Old Catholic Church.

The diplomatic corps was represented by the US Ambassador, Mr. John Emerson; Polish Ambassador, Jerzy Margansky; Canadian Ambassador, Mme. Marie Gervais-Vidricaire; Swedish Deputy head of mission, Staffan Hemra, Dr. Katalyn Karsai from Hungary legation, the Armenian deputy head of mission, Ashot Smbatyan. Ambassador Hadas opened the ceremony by thanking the Wallenberg Foundation for the event and stressing the outstanding trajectory of Pastor Werner.

Pastor Werner thanked Ambassador Hadas for hosting the event, Rabbi Stein for his friendship and beautiful speech and the IRWF for having bestowed upon her this recognition. She mentioned how proud she is to cooperate with the Wallenberg Foundation and try to instill Raoul’s spirit in future generations.

Rabbi Stein, addressed the audience as Emeritus Rabbi and personal friend of Pastor Werner for more than 28 years. He underscored her contribution to spreading Raoul Wallenberg’s legacy and proposed the idea that the Jewish people adopt “Raoul” as a Jewish name, as they did in the case of Alexander the Great.

Danny Rainer stated that Pastor Werner was inspired by other great Protestant Pastors, such as Andre Trocme, Marc Boegner, Charles Guillon and Eduard Theis, who led their community at Chambon-sur-Lignon to a collective act of heroism during the Shoah, saving the Jews of that town.

“Pastor Werner has always built bridges between religions, trying to eradicate what she refers to as the wrong Christian attitude to Judaism. She has a deep understanding of the evil that gave raise to Nazism in her country and is not one bit afraid to voice her opinion and condemn any attempt to downplay the horrors committed by previous German generations.”, Rainer stressed.

He also underscored that it was not a coincidence that the EKD (Evangelical Church of Germany) proposed her Vaterunser Kirche as the most proper venue to display the replica of the Mural which was originally deployed at the Buenos Aires Cathedral in tribute to the victims of the Shoah and of the terrorist attacks perpetrated against the Israeli Embassy and the AMIA Community center in the 90’s.