Volkswagen today presented the Sara Frenkel Award for Respect, Tolerance and Moral Courage for the first time. The winners come from Wolfsburg, including young people from the Carl Hahn and Anne-Marie Tausch Vocational Colleges as well as young shop stewards from Volkswagen and a project team of the Aids-Hilfe charity.

They received the awards for ideas to strengthen respect and tolerance in society and initiatives to oppose violence and racism with moral courage.

Schools, groups and associations from Wolfsburg and the surrounding area had submitted a total of 15 entries for the Sara Frenkel Award. The competition was organized by the Vocational Training department and the Young People’s and Apprentices’ Representative Committee of Volkswagen in Wolfsburg.

The award for respect, tolerance and moral courage is named for Sara Frenkel-Bass, a former victim of forced labor. The 96-year-old now lives in Antwerp (Belgium). She had to cancel her participation in the award ceremony at short notice for health reasons.

The HR Board Member of the Volkswagen Group, Gunnar Kilian, and the Chairman of the Group Works Council, Bernd Osterloh, announced the assessment made by the 12-person jury this evening. Klaus Mohrs, patron of the Sara Frenkel Award and Mayor of Wolfsburg, presented the awards together with Ralph Linde, Head of the Volkswagen Group Academy, at a ceremony in the IG Metall trade union center in Wolfsburg.

In her statement to the organizers and award-winners, Frenkel-Bass said: “It does me good when people like you see that we cannot do without commitment. Living in a democracy is not a machine that produces satisfaction and togetherness at the touch of a button. But the recipe is really quite easy to understand: join forces and look after your neighbors.”

Kilian said: “I would like to thank Sara Frenkel-Bass for her great humanity: the forced labor victim of the former Volkswagenwerk GmbH, Sara Frenkel, has given her name to an award made by Volkswagen. With the Sara Frenkel Award, we are now honoring for the first time young people from Wolfsburg who have stood up for respect, tolerance and moral courage in our society. This is a very special honor. On the evening before the 81st anniversary of the Nazi pogroms, we are sending out a strong signal – in the end, justice and humanity will prevail.”

Osterloh emphasized: “Since the Second World War, we have enjoyed almost 75 years of peace in Germany. At the same time, extreme right-wing populists are winning a large number of votes. Events such as the recent attack in Halle show that we must voice our joint determination that such things will never happen again even louder than before. This is why the Sara Frenkel Award is an important signal at the right time. I was thrilled to see the many strong entries for the award. This way, we can clearly show that we are the majority.”

The award-winning projects:

First Place: “Banner Against Racism”, Carl Hahn School, Municipal Vocational College of the City of Wolfsburg for Business, Administrative and Health Professions.

The project: a banner developed by student spokespersons in the 2018/19 school year which is to be displayed for six months on the school building. Subsequently, the banner is to be converted into bags for the students. The anti-racist motif of the banner can also be printed on stickers and buttons for distribution within the school.

Second Place: “Project Diversity” Carl Hahn School, Municipal Vocational College of the City of Wolfsburg for Business, Administrative and Health Professions.

The project: students in the 2018 year planned and produced a performance including scenes of current political and social topics, interspersed with explanations of the law and moral issues. The film of this performance is to be used in anti-racism work at the school and will also be made available to other interested parties.

Third Place: “Meals bring people together – each meal has a (cultural) history” Anne-Marie Tausch Vocational College, Wolfsburg.

The project: a street food festival in Detmerode. The festival is to bring together people from the Wolfsburg refugees home, the college and surrounding kindergartens and schools over typical meals from various cultures. The main emphasis will be on getting to know people and the experiences of the refugees.

Fourth Place: “Light Against Racism”, Volkswagen Young People’s Shop Stewards, Wolfsburg.

The project: A procession of light from Sara-Frenkel-Platz to Rathausplatz, with each of the participants holding a glass with a candle. The glasses may be individually marked to indicate the person or object to which the candle is devoted. All the glasses will then be positioned on Rathausplatz in the shape of a dove. To give permanence to this signal against racism, a film will be made.

Fifth Place: “Loud & Proud – discrimination-free space“, Aids-Hilfe Wolfsburg.

The project: the “Loud & Proud” meeting point for queer young people and young adults, which is to open in Kleiststraße at the end of November, will provide activities, advice and a discrimination-free space for people to meet in Wolfsburg.

The person who gave her name to the award:

Sara Frenkel-Bass, who originally came from Lublin (Poland), has demonstrated considerable commitment to remembrance, peace and humanity for many decades. She has repeatedly recounted her experiences to young people. She and her younger sister Lea were the only members of her family to survive the persecution of the Jews in occupied Poland and more than two years of forced labor in Germany with the former Volkswagenwerk GmbH. They disguised themselves as Catholic nurses.

Sara Frenkel-Bass is still distressed today by the memory of forced laborers’ children separated from their mothers for racist reasons who died of malnutrition and neglect at the “Home for Foreign Children” in Rühen.

Sara Frenkel-Bass has made her mark in Wolfsburg: on her initiative, the city of Wolfsburg named a street in the northern district “Sofia-Gladica-Weg “ after the deceased child of a forced labor victim in 2012. Two years before, the monument to the victims of forced labor had been unveiled in the center of Wolfsburg on the square named after her, “Sara-Frenkel-Platz “.