Preserving the Memory of Rescuers and Helpers during National Socialism

Leuphana University of Lüneburg is calling for nominations for the Hosenfeld/Szpilman Memorial Prize

For a sixth time, the Leuphana University of Lüneburg is calling for nominations for the Hosenfeld/Szpilman Memorial prize to raise public awareness of ethical resistance undertaken during National Socialism. The award is granted under the auspices of the former German Federal President, Dr. Richard von Weizsäcker. The former Polish Foreign Minister, Dr. Wladyslaw Bartoszewski also supports the award.

In the last months of 1944, as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was being brutally suppressed under Hitler’s direct order, the former village school teacher and occupation officer, Wilm Hosenfeld, encountered the renowned Polish musician and composer, Wladyslaw Szpilman, whose family was murdered in Treblinka along with 400,000 other inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto. Hosenfeld hid Szpilman in the attic of the German Defense Staff headquarters while providing him with food and clothing, thereby saving his life. After the war, Szpilman tried in turn to help Hosenfeld, who was being held in a Russian prisoner of war camp. 

By endowing and awarding the Hosenfeld/Szpilman Memorial Prize, Leuphana University of Lüneburg wishes to draw public attention to the remembrance of ethical resistance in the form of aid and rescue actions under National Socialism. The prize is endowed with 7,500 Euros through the kind support of the Foundation for “Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future.”

Nominations will be accepted for (1) musicological investigations or artistic projects that explore the compositions and musical creations of Wladyslaw Szpilman. In addition, scholarly works or artistic projects dedicated to investigating or performing the musical creations of Polish and German musicians, who were persecuted by the Nationalist Socialist regime. Further submission topics include (2) research projects that investigate ethical resistance within the German population generally, or the Wehrmacht, in particular, from an historical perspective or from some other vantage point in the humanities or cultural sciences. (3) Research in the field of pedagogy that makes a substantial contribution to encouraging civil courage and ethical rescue and resistance actions.  

Submissions will be accepted until December 8, 2014. Nominations will be evaluated and chosen by a jury. Further information is available at

The award ceremony will be held on January 27, 2015, the Day of Rememberance for the Victims of National Socialism.