Black and White Picture of Simon Wisenthal sitting at his desk
© Erich Lessing/Lessingimages Wien

“The foundation of a democracy is, above all, the truth”

Simon Wiesenthal

Presentation of the Simon Wiesenthal Prize 2023 in Parliament: Main Prize awarded to dialogue project “LIKRAT”

In addition to the winners, contemporary witnesses from six countries were honoured with a special commendation.

Vienna (PK) - The dialogue project “LIKRAT – Let’s talk!” was announced as the winner of the Main Prize of the Simon Wiesenthal Prize 2023 in Parliament this evening. National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka and jury chair Katharina von Schnurbein presented the Main Prize of 15,000 euros to representatives of the dialogue project. The project brings together Jewish and non-Jewish teenagers and young adults with the aim of breaking down antisemitic and anti-Jewish stereotypes and generating a pluralistic awareness.

Further prizes go to Spain and Austria

Asociación Cultural Mota de Judíos from Spain received the prize for civic engagement to combat antisemitism. The Spanish village of Castrillo Matajudios – which roughly translates as “fortress that kills Jews” – officially changed its name back to Castrillo Mota de Judíos (Jewish Mound) in 2015 following a referendum and the approval of the regional government. Despite being on the receiving end of various hostilities, the village of around 50 inhabitants continues to stand by its decision to discard its insulting name and honour its Jewish origins.

The Austria-based organisation CENTROPA was honoured for its civic engagement to educate the public about the Holocaust. The organisation documents the memories of contemporary witnesses of the Holocaust and of Jewish life before the Second World War. It was honoured for its efforts to continue Holocaust education in Ukraine even during the Russian war of aggression.

Contemporary witnesses from six countries receive special commendations

During the award ceremony, the contemporary witnesses Helga Feldner-Busztin (Austria), Jeno Friedman (USA), Octavian Fülöp (Romania), Naftali Fürst (Israel), Maria Gabrielsen (Norway), Viktor Klein (Austria), Otto Nagler (Israel), Katharina Sasso (Austria), Liese Scheiderbauer (Austria) and Marian Turski (Poland) were also commended for their contributions towards antisemitism prevention.

This year, the National Fund received almost 200 applications from 30 countries. Last year, the Simon Wiesenthal Prize was awarded to the Israeli initiative Zikaron BaSalon, which enables contemporary witnesses to sit together with an audience in a living room atmosphere and share their recollections of the Holocaust.

The Simon Wiesenthal Prize is dedicated to the memory of the architect, publicist and writer Simon Wiesenthal (1908-2005). Wiesenthal had an unparalleled impact around the globe on dealing with Nazi crimes. (end) adu

Group photo with contemporary witnesses and prize winners (c) Parlamentsdirektion/Johannes Zinner


Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of civic engagement are eligible for regognition?

Prospective prizewinners have made an outstanding contribution – through projects, initiatives or in other meaningful ways – towards combating antisemitism and/or educating the public about the Holocaust by

  • actively fostering, consolidating and imparting knowledge and awareness about the Holocaust;
  • raising awareness in society about the dangers of antisemitism in the present;
  • increasing understanding of the mechanisms and consequences of antisemitism and thereby strengthening democratic culture in everyday life;
  • acting as a beacon of civil courage, thereby highlighting the value and importance of the involvement of each and every individual;
  • advocating for measures to counteract antisemitism and all forms of Holocaust relativisation;
  • fostering understanding and sensitivity in areas where a critical attitude towards antisemitism should be particularly encouraged;
  • contributing to the development of a common awareness in the fight against antisemitism
  • or otherwise contributing towards a culture of remembrance that is innovative, sustainable and dedicated to educating people.

Special consideration will be given to projects, initiatives and achievements that create fresh impetus and place new accents, that set an example for others and appear capable of having a lasting impact on the present and the future.

Can I nominate someone else for the prize?

Yes. Candidates may submit an entry in their own right or be nominated by a third party.

Can institutions also participate?

Yes. Also eligible to submit an entry are, for example, civil society organisations such as clubs, associations, foundations, non-profit limited liability companies; interest groups, regional affiliations such as local clubs and associations, i.e. organisations emerging from the middle and grassroots of society; human rights organisations; non-governmental organisations; welfare institutions, cultural organisations, educational and training institutions; youth organisations, family associations, students and student groups, apprentices and apprentice groups, as well as youth and schoolchildren groups.

Is the prize also aimed at international civil society?

Yes. Individuals or groups from civil society in Austria or abroad can submit an entry or be nominated for the Simon Wiesenthal Prize, regardless of their nationality.

Who decides on the submitted entries?

The Board of Trustees will choose the prizewinners on the basis of the shortlist drawn up by the Simon Wiesenthal Prize Jury.

Candidates will be assessed by the Simon Wiesenthal Prize Jury on the merits of their entries and in accordance with the Rules of Procedure issued by the Board of Trustees.

The Simon Wiesenthal Prize Jury will assess the candidates on the sole basis of the information contained in the submitted documents and submit a shortlist of potential prizewinners to the Board of Trustees within four weeks, providing reasons for its shortlisted entries in writing. The jury may shortlist up to five candidates and rank them in assessed order of merit.

How much is the prize money?

The Simon Wiesenthal Prize is endowed with an annual sum of 30,000 euros. It is awarded in two categories:

  • Civic engagement to combat antisemitism (7,500 €)
  • Civic engagement to promote Holocaust education (7,500 €)

In addition, a main prize endowed with 15,000 € will be awarded for outstanding civic engagement to combat antisemitism and/or promote Holocaust education.

How do I submit an entry for the Simon Wiesenthal Prize?

Entries must be submitted online using the form available on the Simon Wiesenthal Prize website. Attachments must be uploaded electronically.

The entry should state why the candidate(s) would be (a) worthy recipient(s) of the prize and demonstrate the candidate’s achievements in the areas set out in the Prize Announcement.

On the entry form the candidate must provide all information required by the National Fund to

  • ensure that the candidate meets the formal entry requirements
  • examine whether the activities subject of the entry comply with the objectives of the prize