The Profiles in Courage Award 1993.
The Kennedy Society has decided to award Federal President Richard von Weizsächer
with John F. Kennedy's book "Profiles in Courage" for the year 1993
for the following reasons: Reigning mayor of Berlin for many years and later
Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker has in - a now united - Germany
shown courage to make clear statements regarding human worth and human rights
and shown courage to stand firm for his statements.
In Stuttgart in 1976 he stated: "Man is unambiguous, unique, who has been
called by God. This makes him a person, whose value is sacrosanct. It belongs
to him notwithstanding success or failure and is untouchable by the judgement
of others…" (Harald Steffahn: Richard von Weizsächer, 1991.)
In the Federal Diet in Bonn on 8 May 1985 he stated: "May 8 is the day
of liberation. It has released us from the misanthrope system: The Nazi tyranny.
" (Richard von Weizsächer: "Von Deutschland aus, Reden…."
1985.) In former Leningrad in July 1987 he stated: "We will not forget
that for nine hundred days Leningrad was starved out, bombed and shelled…
Today we have with awe and grief remembered the thousands of nameless victims"
(Harald Steffahn: "Richard von Wiezsäcker", 1991). In Zimbabwe
in 1988 he stated: "Apartheid is a fundamental injustice. It is against
the value of man. It destroys the constitution that all societies need to bring
peace to their country..." (Harald Steffahn: "Richard von Weizsäcker",
1991). For strangers he has also courageously stated: "Trying to unite
unity with plurality is the test of federalism and this is the future of Europe...
The constitution in article 1 cannot be misinterpreted; it states the value
of a stranger: not worse or nothing but a sacrosanct human being which the state
is committed to protect... Racial and anti-Semitic attacks revolt us. Anyone
who pretends to use such resort of force in the interest of Germany, abuses
the name of our nation. Germany is neither slogans nor abuse to seek self affirmation
against weaker humans or to work off own fury and fear against defencelessness...
we are all urged to protect our just and human democracy. On when citizens show
civil courage they also back our police. Or shall we once again witness or turn
tails on the hunt of helpless people?" (Speech given the German Unity Day
on 3 October 1992 in Schwerin.)
He did also appreciate Willy Brandt's courage by saying: "With sound scepticism
against sectarianism and obstinacy he professed to the evolution of ideas. He
became a seldom pragmatic visionary … To let entrusted power fall into
decay is only a little better than abuse... We will endeavour to prevent coldness
again, internally and externally... He who allows injustice, prepares for the
next injustice." (Farewell speech at Willy Brandt's funeral 17 October
1992 in Berlin.)