The Dresden Peace Prize has been awarded annually since 2010 in the Semperoper. When the idea to initiate an international peace prize with the name „Dresden-Preis“ (Dresden Peace Prize) was formed, it was clear what it should represent: To learn from the city’s fate, to intervene before everything is held for disposal, as it was done in the art city Dresden. That was and remains to be the message. Remembering that Dresden’s fate was not a singular one, not then and certainly not now. Adding to the continual state of mourning, Dresden’s message about all that was lost, transcends remembrance: War is not the means of last resort it is the wrong means.
Today, we have to add to that. We need to add a message, which has, for too long, been taken for granted but ought to be communicated. By honouring the brave, the tolerant, the humane from all over the world with the Dresden Peace Prize, the tolerant and human majority in Dresden is strengthened as well.
Konstanze Feindt Eißner, a sculptor from Dresden, created the “Dresden Peace Prize” sculpture. She recreated it after a fountain figure in Dresden, which was maimed in the night of bombing from the 13th to 14th February 1945. The plastic at the Mozartbrunnen, built by sculptor Hermann Hosaeus in 1907, is composed of the Three Graces Aglaea, Euphrosyne and Thalia dancing around a Mozart memorial stone. In 1945, the memorial was so heavily damaged that it had to be replaced by a copy. The prototype of the Dresden Peace Prize bronze – the Grace Thalia – shows several bullet holes, also a part of its forefront had been blasted away and a hand is missing. The origin stands in the city’s lapidarium where to this very day about 2000 remnants of the demolished city, recovered by preservationists after the bomb attack, are kept safe.
The Dresden Peace Prize is a wonderful idea.
I am very moved by its symbolism.
Because of its fate, Dresden teaches us, on the one hand,
to always commemorate the victims. On the other hand, it teaches us that the destruction was, in fact, the result of irresponsible politicians.
The symbol of the Prize is to stand against such politics at all times.