Award of the Abraham Geiger Prize to Christian Stückl

On 26 July 2020, Christian Stückl, director of the Oberammergau Passion Play and of the Münchner Volkstheater, was awarded the Abraham Geiger Prize. The laudatory speech was held by the President of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria and former President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dr. h.c. Charlotte Knobloch. Due to the Covid 19 epidemic, the award ceremony during the Passion Play in Oberammergau had to be cancelled and was now held as part of a matinee in the Münchner Volkstheater.

From Charlotte Knobloch's eulogy: "Many centuries of history are connected with the Play, and this history is not always easy and free of pain. ... You worked with the material as carefully as possible and as consistently as necessary. ... You succeeded in showing the Jewish in the Passion Play - without prejudice, without demonisation, without anti-Semitic undertones."

Dr. Charlotte Knobloch (President of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria) (Photo: Tobias Barniske)

Rabbi Prof. Dr. Walter Homolka (Head of the Abraham-Geiger-College of the University of Potsdam), Christian Stückl (Director of the Oberammergau Passion Play and the Münchner Volkstheater), Dr. Josef Joffe (Editor of the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT) (Photo: Tobias Barniske)

Stückl has renewed the internationally renowned Oberammergau Passion Play: away from Christian hatred of Jews and towards a balanced portrayal of inner-Jewish conflicts. This is why the jury, chaired by the editor of the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT, Dr. Josef Joffe, has awarded the Abraham Geiger Prize 2020 to Stückl and the Oberammergau Passion Play: "We think that you have given weight to an important message: that we must stand up against racism and anti-Semitism in our country to ensure a pluralistic society."

Previous award winners include the Israeli writer Amos Oz, German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, H.R.H. Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, Hans Küng, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, Annette Schavan, Alfred Grosser as well as Emil Fackenheim and Susannah Heschel.

The Abraham Geiger College at the University of Potsdam is the first rabbinical seminary in Germany after the Holocaust. Its prize honours personalities who have rendered outstanding services to pluralism and who have stood up for openness, courage, tolerance and freedom of thought. The prize is endowed with € 10,000. It commemorates the great thinker of liberal Judaism, Abraham Geiger (1810-1874), to whom three principles were important: freedom of conscience and faith, freedom of research and teaching, and freedom of opinion for all people. Stückl's prize money is to be used for work on interreligious encounters with students of the Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk in Oberammergau.

Rabbi Prof. Dr. Walter Homolka, Christian Stückl (Photo: Tobias Barniske)