Ecumenical News International

Heinrich Bedford-Strohm: anti-Semitism still widespread

September 12, 2016

[epd-Logo] Munich (epd). Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and Lutheran bishop of Bavaria, has called for continued opposition to anti-Semitism and racism. "This job of work is still not yet over," he said, "and it never will be as long as anti-Semitism is still widespread, even in our Christian congregations." Bedford-Strohm was speaking in Munich at the award ceremony of the Eugen Biser Prize to Charlotte Knobloch, the former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

"Let me state clearly once again: there is no room for anti-Semitism and racism in the churches and we will do our level best for that to remain," said Bedford-Strohm in a short talk on the relationship between Christianity and Judaism. God's special relationship to the Jewish people was not negotiable for Christians, he asserted.

"Untiring willingness to engage in dialogue"

Charlotte Knobloch had striven during her whole life - with "energy and dedication" to promote understanding between religions, worldviews and cultures, said Bedford-Strohm. She had shown an "untiring willingness to engage in dialogue". Knobloch had also given the decisive impetus to founding the Bavarian Alliance for Tolerance, to which over 60 institutions and organizations now belong.

Knobloch (83) is the first Jewish woman to receive the Eugen-Biser Prize, which is worth EUR 5000. Born in Munich, she has been president of the Jewish community of Munich and Upper Bavaria since 1985. From 2006 to 2010 headed the Central Council of Jews in Germany and from 2005 to 2013 she was vice-president of the Jewish World Congress.

The prize is awarded by the Eugen Biser Foundation at irregular intervals and recalls the Catholic theologian and philosopher of religion Eugen Biser (1918-2014). It honours public figures who have devoted themselves to freedom, human dignity and the peace-enhancing significance of religions.



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