German Holocaust survivor Margot Friedlaender offers one of her books to German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier after receiving the Walther-Rathenau-Prize for her outstanding lifetime achievement in foreign policy, on July 4, 2022 in Berlin. (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP)

When Walter Rathenau, Germany’s first Jewish foreign minister, was murdered on June 24, 1922, Margot Friedländer was already seven months old. At the presentation of the Walter Rathenau Prize on Monday morning in the atrium of Deutsche Bank’s representative office in Mitte, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier recalled how Berlin’s 100-year-old honorary citizen was born into a large Jewish family in Berlin in the 1920s, a European one Metropolis, “which was characterized by the dawn of modernity”.

In which, however, “the enemies of democracy were increasingly weakening it, a city in which political violence increased alarmingly”. It makes him angry how blatantly anti-Semitism is showing up again in our country, “on the streets, in the schoolyards, on the internet”.

As a member of the new German Democratic Party, Rathenau has made a firm commitment to democracy, said Steinmeier. Anti-Semites, on the other hand, saw him as the incarnation of the alleged Jewish-capitalist world conspiracy, and he was badly defamed and threatened. Two months before his death, Albert Einstein begged him to step down from his position so as not to endanger himself or other Jews.

Addressing award winner Margot Friedländer, whose family was murdered in Auschwitz and who survived the Theresienstadt concentration camp, Steinmeier said: “As Federal President, I am grateful for the miracle of reconciliation that you have given our country.” returned to the USA and has been tirelessly reporting on her fate ever since, is “lucky for our country”.