U.S. Holocaust Museum to Award Germany's Merkel With Its Highest Honor

Elie Wiesel Award will honor her work with organizations and groups promoting Holocaust remembrance and combating anti-Semitism.

Holocaust survivor Bertrand Herz, Angela Merkel, Barack Obama and Elie Wiesel at the Buchenwald concentration camp, June 5, 2009.
Oliver Multhaup / AP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be awarded the 2017 Elie Wiesel Award for "her singular contributions in support of Holocaust memory and education," the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum announced Thursday.

"Chancellor Merkel has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to making the preservation of Holocaust memory a priority for Germany," Museum Chairman Tom A. Bernstein said in a statement. "The Museum has partnered with the German government and institutions on many initiatives and those partnerships have only grown deeper and more fruitful under Chancellor Merkel."

The chancellor is scheduled to accept the Museum's highest honor via video on April 24 and Peter Wittig, German ambassador to the U.S., will deliver additional remarks on her behalf.

According to the Museum's statement, "When the Museum was facing staunch opposition in its effort to open the largest closed Holocaust archive in the world, the International Tracing Service, Chancellor Merkel changed her government’s policy and sent her justice minister to the Museum to announce Germany’s support for opening the archives, thereby enabling thousands of survivors and their families to discover for the first time the fate of loved ones."

The statement also hailed her repeated condemnations of anti-Semitism and her visit to Buchenwald with Elie Wiesel in 2009 that "was symbolic of the many efforts that have been made by Germany to confront its past."