Munich, October 19, 2019: The award ceremony to confer the Roland Berger Human Dignity Award 2019, scheduled for this Monday, has been postponed to a later date. The founder, Prof. Dr. h.c. Roland Berger, made this decision in order to prevent the recent reporting on his father’s role in the Nazi era from compromising the dignity and renown of the award, first presented in 2008.
The reporting, initiated by “Handelsblatt”, of an issue that has nothing to do with the Human Dignity Award but concerns the father-son relationship between Georg and Roland Berger has clearly also unsettled the award winners. Some of the award winners were further unnerved by the business newspaper’s editors contacting them with questions. Mr. Berger has decided to take this action in order to avoid causing further inconvenience to the winners and friends of the Human Dignity Award, and in response to the Polish award winner and Human Rights Commissioner Adam Bodnar and the network “School without Racism – School with Courage” declining the award.
The founder, Prof. Dr. h.c. Roland Berger, explained: “I acknowledge with sadness and disappointment that the Polish Human Rights Commissioner Adam Bodnar and his office do not wish to accept the award. The same is true of the network School without Racism – School with Courage, which has issued a press release to that effect.” However, the third award winner, the organization ichbinhier e.V., does not wish to decline the award.
In his statement, Roland Berger, who planned to present the award at a ceremony at the Jewish Museum Berlin, said: “I respect these decisions and am cancelling Monday’s event to prevent further damage to my foundation and to preserve the spirit of the award for future award winners.” Given the present media environment, he has decided to postpone the award ceremony until next year. The foundation will stay in touch with the proposed award winners to see whether their former interest in receiving the award remains or whether new award winners should be chosen for next year.
The event is being postponed until after the publication of a full historical examination, commissioned by Prof. Roland Berger, into his father’s role during the Nazi era. This shall provide a complete clarification of allegations made in Handelsblatt that Roland Berger presented an overly uncritical and incomplete picture of his father Georg Berger, who died in 1977. Mr. Berger refutes the allegations but is prepared to revise the picture he presented of his father if the historical examinations find that Georg Berger profiteered from the Nazi regime.
Roland Berger has commissioned historians Prof. Michael Wolffsohn and Prof. Sönke Neitzel to conduct the scholarly examination. Their report is expected to be completed and published by the end of the year.
Roland Berger Stiftung
Tel. +49 89 954-4526-24
mobil +49 171 869 8131
The Roland Berger Foundation is an independent public foundation under German civil law with headquarters in Munich, Germany. It was established on March 27, 2008 by Prof. Dr. h.c. Roland Berger, who donated the initial foundation capital of EUR 50 million. It pursues two objectives, both of which serve to enhance equality of opportunity: In conferring the Roland Berger Human Dignity Award, the Foundation honors individuals and organizations from around the world who have shown exemplary and effective commitment to the protection of human dignity. With its German National Scholarship program, the Foundation also helps gifted children and teenagers from underprivileged families gain access to the best possible education.