London, 17 November 2010

Dr Heinz-Horst Deichmann is to be the first recipient of the Leo Baeck Medal of Recognition, awarded by the Leo Baeck Institute London. The prestigious award recognises his long-term and consistent support for the London Institute, which – over a very long period – has made possible the foundation of two research chairs concerned with one of the central themes of German-Jewish history: the role of Jewish academics in the humanities and the sciences. Dr Deichmann also supports the new partnership between the Leo Baeck Institute London and Queen Mary, University of London which includes the Institute’s move to the Queen Mary campus in April 2011 and the new Leo Baeck Institute MA in European Jewish History.

Dr Deichmann, who studied both medicine and theology, is known as the successful eponymous footwear entrepreneur. He is one of Germany’s best-known philanthropists. As a committed Christian, he has been instrumental in facilitating crucial research, building and development projects not only in London but also at Ben Gurion University in the Negev in Israel. Promoting understanding with the Jewish people has long been one of his prime concerns.

Named after the last representative of the Jews in Nazi Germany, the Leo Baeck Institute London was founded in 1955 with the mission of documenting and researching the history and culture of German-speaking Jewry. Numbering among its founders Martin Buber, Gershom Scholem and Siegfried Moses, the Leo Baeck Institute – with branches in London, New York and Jerusalem – is the leading research establishment in the field of German-Jewish history and culture. The London Institute is first and foremost associated with names such as Robert Weltsch and Arno Paucker as well as the Yearbook published from London by Oxford University Press. Raphael Gross has been Director of the Institute since 2001.

Professor Peter Pulzer, President of the Leo Baeck Institute, will present the Leo Baeck Medal to 84 year old Dr Deichmann on 22 November 2010 in the presence of the German Ambassador Georg Boomgarden. Other speakers will include the Director of the Leo Baeck Institute, Raphael Gross and Professor Michael Meyer of Cincinnati University.