Presentation of the Erich Fromm Prize 2016 to Christel and Rupert Neudeck

on Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 6 p.m. in the “White Hall” of the New Palace in Stuttgart

The images of the large influx of refugees certainly influenced the jury’s decision to award the Erich Fromm Prize in 2016 to Rupert and Christel Neudeck for their life for refugees. The fact that the prize is awarded to a married couple is a first in the history of the Fromm Prize. On closer inspection, however, it quickly becomes clear that Rupert Neudeck would never have been able to achieve his immense commitment if his wife Christel had not actively supported all the projects with her own ideas.

The extent to which the couple “have achieved and continue to achieve outstanding results for the preservation or recovery of humanistic thought and action in the spirit of Erich Fromm”, as the statutes of the Fromm Prize stipulate, Their impressive initiatives – from the rescue of thousands of Vietnamese boat refugees with the Cap Anamur to the founding of the Green Helmets and their advocacy for the interests of Palestinians as refugees in their own country, not to mention the couple’s current day-to-day work in the face of the so-called “refugee crisis” – are very evident.
Rupert Neudeck’s sensitivity to life on the run and as a refugee certainly has its roots in his childhood, when he had to flee Gdansk with his mother and four siblings in January 1945 at the age of six. Having to leave his native soil did not play a role in Fromm’s life until he was an adult. In 1934, Fromm fled from the National Socialists to the United States because, as a Jew by birth and an avowed Marxist, he had to fear for his life in Germany. In the years leading up to 1940, Fromm provided dozens of Jewish relatives with an affidavit and guaranteed their financial livelihood so that they could still leave Germany. Nevertheless, Fromm experienced what it meant to no longer be able to flee or help others to escape: Many of his numerous relatives died in the Nazi extermination camps or were killed in them.
The experience of having to save his life by fleeing was deeply imprinted in the thinking and work of Erich Fromm and Christel and Rupert Neudeck. What they all have in common is that they are able to deal with this experience in a biophilic, life-loving way. They feel compelled to stand alongside those who have had to leave their homes and who are looking to satisfy their need for roots elsewhere. For Erich Fromm, this need for rootedness is one of the basic human needs. The awarding of the Fromm Prize 2016 to Rupert and Christel Neudeck aims to set an example for this basic need and for the resulting right to asylum.

Texts of the award ceremony

Media reports on the awarding of the Fromm Prize 2016

Press release

Dr. Wolfgang Thierse

Dr. Wolfgang Thierse

We were particularly delighted to have Dr. Wolfgang Thierse, President of the Bundestag for many years, as our laudator. Dr. Rupert Neudeck gave the Erich Fromm Lecture in conjunction with the award ceremony.
The award ceremony was once again held in Stuttgart’s New Palace.


  • Welcome – Helmut A. Müller
  • “Ruhe sanft” (from Zaide by Mozart) – CORNELIA LANZ and ESTHER JACOBS-VÖLK
  • Speech to the award winners – Dr. Wolfgang Thierse
  • Presentation of the prize
  • “Escape Melologue” (from Zaide by Mozart) – ZAHER ALCHIHABI
  • Break
  • Ticket melolog – AYDEN ANTANYOS
  • Erich Fromm Lecture 2016 – “Differentiations in the concept of pacifism” – Dr. Rupert Neudeck
  • “Tiger, wetze nur die Klauen” – (Aria from Zaide by Mozart) – CORNELIA LANZ and ESTHER JACOBS-VÖLK
  • Farewell
  • Performers: ZAHER ALCHIHABI (Syrian actor) AYDEN ANTANYOS (Iraqi actor) ESTHER JACOBS-VÖLK (dancer from Nigeria) STEPHEN HESS (piano, Stuttgart State Opera) CORNELIA LANZ (mezzo-soprano)
Actors from Zaide

Refuge culture

The association Zuflucht Kultur e.V. aims to encourage intercultural coexistence and is committed to international understanding through culture, including at the UN World Humanitarian Summit in Geneva, at the worldwide Red Cross meeting, at the Federal President’s citizens’ festival at Bellevue Palace, in the German Bundestag, at the German Church Congress, at Amnesty International, Oxfam Germany, in the Bavarian State Parliament, at performances with the Federal Police Orchestra, in the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of Justice, in the Jewish Museum Berlin and at anti-Pegida demonstrations. We were on talk shows such as Markus Lanz, WDR West Art Talk, SWR Landesschau and at the big ZDF fundraising gala hosted by Johannes B. Kerner. The Mozart operas Cosi fan tutte and Zaide. An escape. were performed a total of 17 times at Radialsystem Berlin, Gasteig Munich, Theaterhaus Stuttgart and Theater Augsburg. Idomeneo is currently being planned. The best confirmation so far: the program “Die Anstalt” (ZDF) received the Grimme Prize 2015 “for the moment of authenticity and importance” for the performance of the Syrian refugee choir Zuflucht, in which the participation of those directly affected unfolds an emotional impact, as well as the Amnesty Human Rights Prize 2015. Production manager and initiator Cornelia Lanz received the Zonta Art and Culture Award Upper Swabia for her work in 2015. Minister President Winfried Kretschmann took over the patronage of the ZAIDE project in September 2015. A FLIGHT. Further information:

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