Düsseldorf (dpa) – Publicist Rachel Salamander (72) received the famous Heine Prize from the city of Düsseldorf on Sunday, endowed with 50,000 euros.
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier hailed the salamander as “facilitator of German intellectual life”. She made the literary world accessible and habitable for many readers.
Salamander, who lives in Munich, opened in 1982 a bookstore specializing in literature on Judaism in the Bavarian capital under the name “Literaturhandlung”. There are now branches in several German cities. Along with their bookstores, Salamander had brought back Jewish authors whose books had once been burned in the canon of German literature, the jury said in the explanatory memorandum.
The brutal expulsion of Jewish perpetrators during the Nazi era caused irreparable damage and loss to Germany, the Federal President said. But even in the present and in the culture, there is still anti-Semitism disguised as a so-called critique of Israel.
The Federal President demanded that the shock of “current hatred” seize everyone. “We have a duty to resist – not each for himself, but us with and for the other.” Steinmeier said: “Home is also the place where you fight all forms of racism and anti-Semitism.”
“In 1970, I could never have imagined having to live in a Germany with daily anti-Semitism,” said the winner in her acceptance speech. “Because of Auschwitz” Jews were spared in the post-war period – “is the closing season over? She asked. “Today we Jews are partisan, we are on the defensive,” Salamander said.
The winner was born in 1949 in a “displaced persons camp” for Holocaust survivors in Deggendorf, Bavaria. She studied German, philosophy and Romance languages at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. Salamander has been a member of the Suhrkamp Verlag Supervisory Board since 2015.
The ceremony in Düsseldorf, originally scheduled for December 2020, had to be postponed due to the corona pandemic. The awards ceremony took place at the theater. The Heine Prize, awarded every two years and endowed with 50,000 euros, is named after the Düsseldorf poet Heinrich Heine (1797-1856). The winners are Carl Zuckmayer, Sebastian Haffner, Walter Jens, Max Frisch, Elfriede Jelinek, Amos Oz and Simone Veil.