Tschiche Democracy Award 2023 presented to Ismet Tekin and to the AWO MeGa working group

Antje Wilde, Ismet Tekin, Dennis Helmich und Madeleine Linke (v. l. n. r.)
Antje Wilde, Ismet Tekin, Dennis Helmich und Madeleine Linke (v. l. n. r.)

Alliance 90/The Greens of Saxony-Anhalt have awarded the Hans-Jochen Tschiche Democracy Award for the fourth time. This year’s winners are Ismet Tekin from Halle (Saale) and the working group MeGa of the AWO from Hötensleben. The prize was presented on Friday evening in Magdeburg by Antje Wilde, widow of Hans-Jochen-Tschiche, who died in 2015, and by the state chairpersons of Alliance 90/The Greens of Saxony-Anhalt, Madeleine Linke and Dennis Helmich.

Laureate: Ismet Tekin

Antje Wilde, Ismet Tekin, Dennis Helmich und Madeleine Linke (v. l. n. r.)
Antje Wilde, Ismet Tekin, Dennis Helmich und Madeleine Linke (v. l. n. r.)

This year’s laureate Ismet Tekin, as a survivor of the anti-Semitic and racist attack in Halle on October 9, 2019, has decided to fight against the silence and oblivion that unfortunately sets in far too quickly. Ismet Tekin does not give up and, despite some counterattacks, does not give in. Together with the “Tekiez” solidarity group, he has transformed the former kebab restaurant in Ludwig-Wucherer-Straße into a place of remembrance, education and conversation.

Even though Ismet Tekin and his supporters were too seldom able to fall back on public, state aid, together with the solidarity of many supporters from civil society, a place of encounter, exchange and resistance against hatred was created, which has made Ismet Tekin a survivor. A survivor who does not give in to this hatred.

Carried by his extraordinary will and sheer endless strength, Ismet Tekin has not only appeared as a joint plaintiff in the trial against the assassin, but he has also described his view of the experiences in countless conversations with the media, researchers, educators and ultimately the entire public. Ismet Tekin promotes a common, solidary togetherness in this society – regardless of origin, faith or individual biography. This action, this commitment and this image of humanity – which has always remained positive despite everything he has experienced – are nothing less than extraordinary and deserve the highest respect and support.

Laureate: Working group MeGa of the AWO

Tearing down walls and dismantling borders. Directly on the Green Belt, which for years separated two states, a biotope now connects Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. But it is not only the Marienborn German Division Memorial, the Hötensleben Border Monument or the Paleon that tell stories. The AWO’s MeGa working group is also actively dismantling borders and sending out reminders.

With the largest unity graffito in Saxony-Anhalt, the annual unity digging directly on the Green Belt, annual cleaning of stumbling blocks and especially the laying of stumbling blocks and thresholds, borders are regularly overcome – in the mind and former borders of the German-German division. In the process, work is also done across generations, counties, and federal states – and even in the spirit of inclusion and youth participation.

The results of this work are always of a lasting nature and create understanding for topics of recent German history in rural areas that have hardly been dealt with so far. We want to honor this commitment with the Tschiche Award. These two handfuls of working group members accomplish a great deal! Again and again, committed people from Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony are brought together.

The topics of democracy, combating right-wing extremism and sustainability are real matters of the heart. A great many people benefit from the results locally and in the region. History is kept alive and vibrant. This is entirely in keeping with the spirit of Hans-Jochen Tschiche, who brought different people together around one table, lived civic engagement and always saw togetherness.

The Award

In 2016, Alliance 90/The Greens of Saxony-Anhalt decided to offer the “Hans-Jochen Tschiche Memorial Award for the Promotion of Commitment, Democracy and Parliamentarianism” in memory of their former honorary chairman. Hans-Jochen Tschiche was an oppositionist in the GDR, later chairman of the Green parliamentary group in the state parliament in the 1990s and a central player in the red-green minority government, and later the founder of the association ‘Miteinander’ (Together) for the promotion of democracy and cosmopolitanism.

In addition to commemorating its namesake and his life’s themes, the award is also intended to honor in particular individuals and initiatives that fight for successful coexistence, integration and the preservation of the democratic achievements of the Peaceful Revolution on a small scale and away from the big cities in the state.

All proposals and applications received were reviewed and evaluated by a six-member jury (consisting of representatives of Hans-Jochen Tschiches’ estate and Miteinander e. V., the Heinrich Böll Foundation Saxony-Anhalt and Alliance 90/The Greens Saxony-Anhalt).

Previous award winners are:

  • The initiative “Colorful Roßlau” (2017)
  • The initiative “Oschersleben is colorful” (2019)
  • Susanna and Markus Nierth (special prize 2019)
  • Razak Minhel (2022)
  • Ismet Tekin (2023)
  • The working group “AG MeGa Hötensleben” of the AWO (2023)