Hans and Sophie Scholl Award 2007

Anna Politkovskaja

Geschwister-Scholl-Preis 2007, Politkovskaja, Cover

Original edition:

Anna Politkovskaja
"A Russian Diary"

Harvill Secker
London 2007
ISBN 978-1-84655-046-1


The Culture Committee of the Munich City Council and the Board of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels – Landesverband Bayern decided to award the „Hans and Sophie Scholl Award 2007“, funded 10,000€, in recogniton of the„Russian Diary“ by Anna Politkovskaja.

The Hans and Sophie Scholl Award was established in 1980 by the Verband Bayerischer Verlage and Buchhandlungen (Association of Bavarian Publishers and Book Stores (from 2003, Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels – Landesverband Bayern e.V.) in cooperation with the City of Munich. Given this naming, the Award is in commemoration of Hans and Sophie Scholl and their brave resistance to the crimes committed in Nazi Germany.

The idea of the prize, which is awarded this year for the 28th time, is to distinguish every year a book in demonstration of spiritual independance furthering the cause of civic freedom and intellectual courage, which are instrumental to provide impulses towards a responsible view of the present.

The Award Ceremony will be held within the framework of a closed celebration on Monday, November 26, 2007, at 19.00 hrs. in the Grand Auditorium of the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich.


The jury justified its nomination as follows:

From 2003 – 2005, Anna Politkovskaja, who was shot dead in her house in Moscow on October 7, 2006, provided in this book a very vivid in-depth description of the political scene of her country. In reports, media analysis, interviews, observation of elections, war reports and witnessing court cases the journalist of the newspaper „Nowaja Gaseta“ reveals an abuse of power in all areas of public life, from the manipulation of political court cases to the violation of the freedom of the press.

With analytical shrewdness she pinpoints offences to fundamental principles of constitutional legality and their impacts on a population which has resigned and withdrawn from political responsibility. In her investigations to shed light on the backgrounds and daily routines of the war in Chechenia, she looks into violations of human rights, unrelentingly confronting the responsible political class in her interviews. Full of compassion, Anna Politkovskaja describes the situation of people who got caught blame-lessly in a mechanism of arbitrariness and terror – soldiers, wounded veterans, family members of the deported, tortured and killed persons as well as the survivors of the terror attack against the Beslan school. Unbendingly, Anna Politkovskaja appeals to the joint responsibility of the Western world for the processes of democratization even in their own country.

Anna Politkovskaja was an incorruptible journalist whose moral claims did not allow her to withdraw, even when confronted with threats to her own life. It can justly be said that Anny Politkovskaja was willing to die for texts like the „Russian Diary“. She took the loss of her own life in a spirit of solidarity with people for whom she wrote, defending the right of free information and being firmly committed to the principle of a democratic state founded on the law. Her commitment was, not least, meant for those who will come after us, the children and grandchildren. Her unfaltering courage, especially in view of her
justified fears in an increasingly threatening situation, represents an outstanding example for moral courage and integrity, far beyond the line of her profession and her own country.


Members of the jury 2007

Members of the jury chaired by the Head of the Cultural Department Dr. Hans-Georg Küppers and Wolf Dieter Eggert, chairman of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels – Landesverband Bayern, including Christoph Buchwald (publisher), Sabine Dultz (Münchner Merkur), Dr. Ingeborg Harms  (publicist and literary critic), Dr. Dieter Heß (Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation), Prof. Dr. Hans Günter Hockerts (Professor for contemporary history, University of Munich), Dr. Susanne Mayer (Die Zeit), Dr. Gustav Seibt (historian and publicist), Gitta Severloh (Hessian Broadcasting Corporation) und Sabine Zaplin (author).


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