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Franz-Werfel-Human Rights Award

With the endowment of the Franz Werfel Human Rights Award, the ZENTRUM GEGEN VERTREIBUNGEN is implementing one of the tasks anchored in its statutes.

The award is named after the great author Franz Werfel (1890-1945), whose novel "The 40 days of Musa Dagh" forcefully, effectively and with great artistic power portrayed the displacement of the Armenians from Turkey and the genocide of the Armenians in 1915/16. The great German, Bohemian, Jewish lyricist and novelist Franz Werfel was also a telling example of the fate of displacement in his personal life. In 1933, he was excluded from the Prussian Poets' Academy by the National Socialists. In 1938, he had to flee to France, from where he only escaped from the following German troops in an adventurous flight across the Pyrenees. In 1940, he left Portugal to the USA, where he lived in Beverly Hills until his death in 1945. Franz Werfel's heiress, Marina Mahler, permitted the use of the name by the ZENTRUM GEGEN VERTREIBUNGEN in a letter of 17.1.2002.

The Franz-Werfel-Human Rights Award is to be awarded to individuals, and occasionally also to initiatives or groups, who have opposed breaches of human rights by genocide, displacement and the deliberate destruction of national, ethnic, racial or religious groups. To this extent, the foundations of the prize are the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, the International Agreement on Civilian and Political Rights of 1966, the resolution of the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations of 1998 as well as the consequences of the meeting of the European Council of the Heads of State and Governments in Copenhagen of 1993 and other statements issued by the European Union. Anyone rendering exemplary political, artistic, philosophical or practical work in the sense of the aforementioned documents may be awarded the prize.

The Franz-Werfel-Human Rights Award includes € 10,000 of prize money. It is awarded in the Paulskirche in Frankfurt/ Main every two years. It was awarded for the first time on 29.6.2003.

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