FRANKFURT (Sep. 28)
Prof. Martin Buber, world renowned Jewish philosopher, teacher and author, yesterday accepted the 1953 “Peace Prize of the German Bookdealers Federation” of West Germany at a public ceremony at St. Paul’s Church here, a secularized national shrine. The Minister-President of Hesse, Dr. A. Zinn, and Dr. Theodor Dehler, Hesse Minister of Justice, attended the ceremony.
In his speech of acceptance, Prof. Buber said that those Germans who had murdered millions of his fellow Jews had removed themselves from humanity to the “sphere of monstrous inhumanity.” “Who am I that I could presume to ‘forgive,’” he added.
Dr. Buber said that when he visualized the Germans of the era of Auschwitz and Treblinka–the Nazi death camps where most of European Jewry was annihilated in the gas chambers and cremetoria–he saw the “great number who knew” of the borrors which were occurring without doing anything about them Knowing human weakness, he declared, he refused to condemn such people for failing to become martyrs.
Prof. Buber concluded by saying that he felt “reverence and love” for those Germans who refused to carry out the orders of murderers and who revolted against them, preferring death or suicide. Other speakers at the ceremony praised the 75-year-old Professor Emeritus at the Hebrew University as a great humanitarian who had done much to aid persecuted Jews. The prize, slightly under $2,500, was established in 1950 and was first won by Max Tau, Jewish author and pacifist.