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Prize honours survivor of Ludwigshafen blaze

DDP/The Local · 18 May 2008, 15:05

Published: 18 May 2008 15:05 GMT+02:00

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Winners of the first Genc-Award for social reconciliation were voted for by the Turkish-German Health Foundation and the North Rhine-Westfalia Ministry for Integration. Prizes of €10,000 will be awarded at a ceremony on the May 26th.

The two prize winners, chosen for their commitment to reconciliation, were named as the Mayor of Cologne, Fritz Schramma (CDU) and Kamil Kaplan - a survivor of the February fire attack in Ludwigshafen that claimed the lives of nine members of the local Turkish community.

German Federal President, Horst Köhler, announced the new award in honour of the Genc family who perished at the hands of a radical right-wing attack on May 29th 1993 in Solingen.

Genc family members, including two women and three girls died during the fire, but despite their tragic loss, the rest of the family have made an exemplary effort of reconciliation with the tragic day, said Yasar Bilgin, chairman of the Health Foundation.

Prize winner Kamil Kaplan lost his wife and two children in the Ludwigshafen blaze in February and the way in which he has coped with such adversity has been highly commended by the Health Foundation.

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"In view of the devastating human loss Mr Kaplan has endured, and the public sorrow he has faced, he has remained well-balanced and composed. The understanding and reconciliation he has shown is honourable." said the Genc-Award committee board.

The board continued to urge ongoing consideration of individual cultures in Cologne, highlighting Mayor Schramma's "exceptional example of understanding and mediating integration", especially with regards to the building of a new Mosque in Cologne.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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