International Peace Prize Dresden Prize

Winner 2021: Cristina Marín Campos (Spain)

Photos: Juan Carlos Rojas

“I wanted to make the situation a little more human for the sick”

32-year-old Cristina Marin Campos, a doctor at the Hospital Universitario de La Princesa in Madrid, has done far more than her medical duty.  When the first wave of the pandemic hit Spain particularly hard in spring 2020, her hospital was also overcrowded with Covid-19 patients.   The doctor quickly realised that the patients in the wards, which were sealed off from the outside world, suffered particularly from isolation. As late as March, she therefore called on the Spanish population via the social media to send letters to the patients. “I wanted to make the situation more humane for the patients, to give them encouragement,” she explains her action.

However, she had not expected such a big response. On the first day alone, 35 000 letters were received. They came from all sections of the Spanish population. Many children wrote, as did residents of old people’s homes. Even prisoners took part in the campaign. And all the letters had a similar message: “Hold on, you are not alone.

Gerhart Baum, honorary member of the association “Friends of Dresden Germany” and former Federal Minister of the Interior, honoured the young doctor’s commitment:

“In times like these, we need humane gestures like those of Cristina Marin Campos. They give us courage. And it is impressive how a country like Spain, which is much more affected by the pandemic and also by the measures taken against it than Germany, shows solidarity and compassion. In view of this, it must be felt as particularly shameful that nowhere else in the world are there so many demonstrations against the corona measures as in Germany. Which is exactly what is missing: solidarity and compassion.”

Beate Spiegel, Managing Director of the Klaus Tschira Foundation adds: “The Corona crisis has shown us how important the commitment of individuals is for the cohesion of society. Alongside scientific research and medical art, human compassion is simply an essential factor in healing. With a spontaneous idea, Ms Marin Campos has brought hope to those suffering from the pandemic and can be a model for all of us who should ask ourselves how we can bring joy to others in these times.  The prize for her is also an expression of European solidarity in the Corona crisis”.

Excerpt from the laudation by Gerhart Baum: 

Christina Marin Campos has given us an example – an example of how human dignity must be defended. And together with her I name the many helpers who did not discuss the “pros and cons” for a long time, but acted courageously. And the fight is not over!

Excerpt from the acceptance speech by Cristina Marin Campos:  

The underlying idea of the letters was to fight the loneliness and isolation that COVID patients faced. Luis Antonio, Jesús Ramón, Rosa, Carmen, Miguel, Nicanor, Emilio, José María and Gheorghe. If I had not met them, I would never have become aware of their suffering, and this initiative would never have been born. The COVID patients were not only the origin of the letters, they are also their ultimate destination. Therefore, the recognition by this award is not for me, but always for all of them.

Artists honor deceased medical professionals 

As one of five artists, Sicilian singer Etta Scollo (photo) remembered physicians, nurses and caregivers who died in the line of duty from COVID 19. Like her, René Pape, Valentin Butt, Martin-Jan Nijhof and Geraint John Jones honored those who died.