Two organisations with Jewish links have won the top prizes at the European Cultural Foundation awards in Amsterdam.
Borderland, which connects modern Poland with its lost Jewish community, and Forensic Architecture, founded by British-Israeli architect Eyal Weizman, shared the Princess Margriet Award for Culture, which celebrates courageous citizens using culture as a force for positive change.
Forensic Architecture draws on architectural knowledge and new technology to reconstruct sites of conflict, trauma, oppression and injustice. This has included 3D recreations of Grenfell Tower and Saydnaya, a notorious Syrian torture prison based upon the testimony of survivors.
Its work has provided decisive evidence in a number of legal cases, including a counter-investigation into the testimony of German intelligence officer Andreas Temme in relation to the murder of Turkish-German café-owner, Halit Yozgat, by a far-right group in 2006.
Borderland, by contrast, tries to bring lost cultures back to life through exhibitions, theatre, libraries, workshops and concerts. The organisation is not solely aimed at the lost Jewish community, but it is the one that has the most profound influence.
The foundation even has an internationally-renowned Klezmer orchestra and organises workshops and symposiums on cross-cultural dialogue for scholars and cultural practitioners from around the world.
Weizman said he was “delighted” with the award, adding: “It is important that, alongside the judicial and political, the cultural domain is acknowledged as a crucial arena of struggle for the exposure of the truth about the world around us.”