The Ludwig Beck Award for Civil Courage
By awarding the Ludwig Beck Award for Civil Courage (Ludwig Beck Award), Wiesbaden, the state capital of Hesse, wishes to honour individuals, institutions, or associations from all over the world that have shown extraordinary civil courage to improve general public welfare, promote peaceful relations between people, sustain social justice, and uphold the basic principles of democracy and the constitutional state.
On 4 December 2003, the City Council passed a resolution to institute the Ludwig Back Award in honour of Ludwig Beck. Colonel General Ludwig Beck, a resistance fighter born in Wiesbaden-Biebrich who courageously resisted Adolf Hitler and his racist power mania during the National Socialist regime, continues to be an example of singular civil courage today. He was to have become the German head of state, had Hitler been assassinated on 20 July 1944.
- In line with the 2003 award regulations, the award was granted annually to individuals, institutions, and associations that have shown extraordinary civil courage with special relation to Wiesbaden. A panel of judges including seventeen representatives of different organisations chose the awardee or awardees. Up to 2008, the annual prize money was 2,500 euros.
On 29 June 2004, the prize was awarded for the first time to mark the 60th anniversary of the attempt to assassinate Hitler on 20 July 1944. The award was presented in a ceremony by the then president of the City Council, Angelika Thiels, and the then Lord Mayor, Hildebrand Diehl, at Biebrich Castle. The importance of the award was underlined by an opening address by Hessian Prime Minister Roland Koch.
The first recipient of the award was Mr Therarajah Balakumar.
In 2009, on the initiative of the then Lord Mayor, Dr Helmut Müller, the panel of judges discussed an amendment to the award regulations in order to increase the appreciation of the prize by putting more emphasis on civil courage in connection with Ludwig Beck, the patron of the award. The prize was not awarded in 2009 and 2010.
At its meeting of 29 June 2010, the City Council of Wiesbaden, the state capital of Hesse, adopted new award regulations for the Ludwig Beck Award, which were confirmed by the City Council at its meeting of 9 September 2010.
Major changes include
- More emphasis on the aspect of civil courage by focusing on elementary values, such as a particular commitment to human dignity, democracy, and tolerance.
- Openness for award winners from all over the world.
- Increasing the prize money to 10,000 euros.
- Expansion of the panel of judges from 17 to 19 members.