Holocaust historian Saul Friedlander received the peace prize of the German Book Trade.
The Israeli historian, 75, was honored Sunday in an emotional ceremony for his work in giving a voice and a name to Holocaust victims. The international prize, which is presented annually at the Frankfurt Book Fair, is endowed with $35,000.
Friedlander in his acceptance speech read aloud from unpublished letters from his family, written in 1942, before they were deported to Auschwitz.
His family had fled to France from Czechoslovakia in 1939. Friedlander survived in hiding at a Catholic boarding school, where he was baptized. His parents were murdered in Auschwitz.
After the war Friedlander returned to Judaism and moved to Israel in 1948. He has a home in Los Angeles, where he is a professor of history at the University of California.
Following the ceremony, German President Horst Koehler was attacked by a man in the audience. The attack occurred while Koehler and Friedlander were walking through the crowd, reports said. No one was injured, and police said there was no obvious political motivation for the attack by a 44-year-old German of Romanian background.