German Chancellor Angela Merkel was honored by Munich’s Jewish community with the Ohel Jakob Medal for her work to promote and protect Jewish life in Germany and her commitment to the State of Israel.
Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Jewish community of Munich and World Jewish Congress Commissioner for Holocaust Memory, welcomed Merkel and a large number of personalities at the Ohel Jakob Synagogue in the Bavarian capital, which was dedicated ten years ago, on 9 November 2006.
Knobloch said in her speech that Merkel, like no other German leader before her, “stands with the Jewish community and with Israel in the most determined and unequivocal fashion.” This was an expression of her humanity and her sense of historical responsibility, Knobloch said.
She added: "The safety and well-being of every Jewish person in Germany is for you part of Germany’s reason of state and something that is not negotiable. For you, these are more than empty words.”
WJC Vice-President Rabbi Artur Schneier, like Knobloch a survivor of the Holocaust, said Merkel had contributed enormously to the renaissance of Jewish life in Germany.
In her acceptance speech, Merkel said that for her receiving such an award was “anything but self-evident.”
She also stressed the need to teach the one million refugees who arrived in recent months mainly from Arab countries about the history of Germany and the Holocaust. “We owe it to the victims of the Shoah and we owe it ourselves that we pass on the knowledge about what happened and that we stand up against any threat by hatred and anti-Semitism.”
She told Charlotte Knobloch: “I treasure the fact that I have met you and the many conversations I have had with you.”