Tel Aviv (Feb. 19)
– An Israeli family which has requested anonymity, has established an annual prize for the best literary work on the Holocaust and Israel’s revival for which authors of any faith or nationality will be eligible, it was announced here by the Board of Trustees of the Yad Vashem Memorial Foundation. An inter-denominational board of trustees has been appointed to administer the $7,000 award which has been named the Katzetnik Prize.
The prize will be granted “To a candidate of any faith or nationality for an original work of excellence on the Jewish Holocaust and Israel’s revival, a work which testifies against hatred between fellow men and encourages, through mind and deed, the dignity of man created in the image of God.”
Its genesis was unusual. According to Joseph Klarman, a local journalist, he was approached by a promenent Tel Aviv resident about 18 months ago who said his family wanted to donate the capital sum of $70,000 to establish an award in the name of a writer who was an inmate of a Nazi concentration camp and signed his works “Katzetnik 135633,” the camp number tatooed on his arm. According to Klarman, the donor’s only son had been a drug addict.
Extensive treatment in Israel and abroad failed to help, but his readings of books from his father’s library by “Katzetnik” cured him of his addiction because of the deep emotional impression they made, according to Klarman’s account. He said the family had wished to credit the author but the latter asked that the prize be named simply “Katzetnik” in memory of all who perished in the Nazi death camps.
The author’s wife, Nina Di-Nur, and Gideon Hausner, a Knesset member and head of the Yad Vashem Foundation, named the prize trustees who are now appointing an inter-denominational committee of judges. They include Father Marcel DuBois, a Catholic who teaches philosophy at the Hebrew University, and Farid-Wajdi Tabari, the Kadi (Moslem religious judge) of Jerusalem.