The Prizes Award Ceremony 2018 of B’nai B’rith, organised by B’nai B’rith Europe and B’nai B’rith France, took place on Thursday, the 26th of April 2018, at the Shoah Memorial in Paris. The goal of the event was to honour figures who act with a remarkable commitment for the defence of fundamental values. Katharina von Schnurbein, European Commission Coordinator on combating antisemitism, and Gilles Clavreul, former Interministerial Delegate for the fight against racism and antisemitism (DILCRA) were awarded.

The ceremony was held in presence of prominent personalities, including CRIF’s President Francis Kalifat, Vice-Presidents Yonathan Arfi and Gerard Unger, Director-General Robert Ejnes, Their Excellencies Croatian Ambassador Filip Vučak,  Permanent Observer of the Holy See to UNESCO Francesco Folle, Serbian Ambassador to UNESCO Darko Tanaskovic, Minister Counsellor for cultural affairs to the Germany Embassy Andreas Klassen, Minister Plenipotentiary to the Israeli Embassy Marc Attali,  Members of B’nai B’rith, representatives of Jewish organisations, Members of the  European Commission and the European Parliament.

 President of B’nai B’rith Europe Serge Dahan opened the ceremony by underlining the historical dimension of the Shoah Memorial, a place of information, vigilance and education, which was chosen to award the work of remembrance and the fight against antisemitism. He then reminded the current rose of antisemitism in Europe and urged the European governments to fight this new antisemitism by adopting the definition of the International Holocauste Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The European Parliament endorsed this definition on the first of June 2017 which includes anti zionism and negationism.

The Remembrance Prize was given by Ada Sadoun, B’nai B’rith Grenoble President, to Jean-Claude Lescure, university professor in contemporary history. Gilles Clavreul received the Human Rights Prize of B’nai B’rith France by Philippe Meyer, Vice-President, and Ada Sadoun.

Serge Dahan then presented the Human Rights Prize of B’nai B’rith Europe to Katharina von Schnurbein, and thanked her. He stated that “When [we] hear Katharina talk about antisemitism, we feel that she dedicates her heart and soul to ensure Jewish citizens feel safe in Europe”. A message of B’nai B’rith International Presidency was read by Serge Dahan, B’nai B’rith Europe President.

Katharina von Schnurbein was moved by this honor and reminded the initiatives of the European Commission to fight against hate speech online and to better the education about Holocaust, antisemitism and Jewish life. She stated that “our final goal for the Jewish community in Europe is normality. Jewish citizens should be able make the same lifestyle choices like anyone else […]. Today, we are far from this goal, but if we do not seek the maximum, we will not reach the minimum”.

Read speech here

She quoted countries which have already adopted the IHRA definition on antisemitism and invited France to do the same, in order to make the fight against antisemitism more efficient and to enrich DILCRAH’s remarkable initiatives.

Furthermore, Katharina von Schnurbein had the opportunity to meet Alain Knoll, son of Mireille Knoll, who was murdered in Paris on the 23rd of March 2018, and honoured her memory by giving him a white stone to be placed on his mother’s grave.

The ceremony, punctuated with musical interludes performed by Cantor Raphael Cohen and the Jewish Choir of France, expressed the gratitude of B’nai B’rith and the Jewish community  to these figures involved in the work of remembrance and the fight against antisemitism. The event ensured them the role of B’nai B’rith as a partner and interlocutor in their missions.

B’nai B’rith President Serge Dahan brotherly thanks the Sisters and Brothers from European Lodges as well as Director of E.U. Affairs for B’nai B’rith International Benjamin Nägele, who honored B’nai B’rith Europe by their presence.

The Human Right Prize of B’nai B’rith France was awarded  to Gilles Clavreul, former Ministerial Delegate for the fight against racism and anti-Semitism in France and current project officer for the General Secretariat of the French Ministry of Interior.

The award was presented at the auditorium of the Memorial of the Shoah, 17 rue Geoffroy l’Asnier, 75004 Paris, on the 26th of April at 7:30 p.m. in the presence of Political figures and personalities active in associative life as well as presidents and members of B’nai B’rith. The ceremony was followed by a cocktail reception.