Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis and President of the European Council Donald Tusk, on Friday were presented with “Dr. Wilhelm Filderman – For Merit Reward” medals, at an event hosted by the Choral Temple of Bucharest to celebrate the 135th birth anniversary of Wilhelm Filderman, who was chairman of the Union of Romania’s Jewish Communities in 1929-1941 and 1944 – October 25, 1945.
“We are presenting Mr President with the ‘Dr. Wilhelm Filderman – For Merit Reward’ medal as we believe, judging by his speeches so far, that he is a true model. He is a model that can be referenced by any important politician who wants to go down in history as Wilhelm Filderman did,” said Aurel Vainer (photo L) , chairman of the Federation of Romania’s Jewish Communities.
“It is hereby awarded an honorary medal ‘Dr. Wilhelm Filderman – For Merit Reward’ to His Excellence Klaus Werner Iohannis, Romania’s president to acknowledge your precious contribution to the constant advancement of principles, values and laws of a pluralistic democracy in Romania, in gratitude for the continual cultivation of intercultural, interethnic and interdenominational dialogue under mutual respect circumstances,” reads the motivation signed by Albert Kupferberg, chairman of the Filderman Foundation and by Chairman of the Federation of Romania’s Jewish Communities Aurel Vainer.
Accepting the medal on behalf of President Iohannis was his adviser Sergiu Nistor.
“I am receiving the ‘Dr. Wilhelm Filderman – For Merit Reward’ anniversary medal with gratitude and joy over the friendship that connects me to your community. I am extending my cordial salutations to the leadership of the Federation of Romania’s Jewish Communities and the management of the Filderman Foundation. They are bringing to our attention the higher-than-life personality of Wilhelm Filderman, whose 135th birth anniversary we are celebrating. Wilhelm Filderman was a loyal and faithful fighter for the political rights of people of Jewish origins living in Romania. (…) I would like to mention particularly Wilhelm Filderman’s personal courage and loyalty as he fought for Romania during WWI and was decorated for his combat exploits with prestigious decorations such as ‘Romania’s Crown’ and ‘Military Virtue’. (…) I can see in the medal you are bestowing on me today, and which is an honour to me to accept, your commendation for the objectives I have set to achieve and our joint commitment to achieving them. Today’s anniversary is a necessary commemoration of the man and human model that Wilhelm Filderman embodied,” reads Iohannis’ message read out by his adviser Nistor.
President of the European Council Donald Tusk was presented the same medal to acknowledge his contributions to the advancement of European democratic values, peace and social dialogue.
Receiving the medal on behalf of Tusk was personal aide Stefan Smith, who read out a message from Tusk in which Tusk gives thanks for the message received and a letter informing him about the decision to award him the medal. President Tusk, added Smith, is grateful for the medal and says getting it is an honour to him, asking the awarders to deliver the medal by courier.
Also presented the medal were Chairman of the European Court of Human Rights Guido Raimondi; European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu; Minister for Romanians Everywhere Andreea Pastarnac; Chairman of the Romanian Academy Ionel Valentin Vlad; Israeli ambassador to Romania Tamar Samash; Bucharest Bar Dean Ion Dragne; Bucharest University Chancellor Mircea Dumitru, and President and CEO of Romania’s National Television Broadcasting Corporation (TVR) Irina Radu.
Judge Margareta Teodorescu; Romaqua Group Borsec CEO Octavian Cretu; Kaufland Romania Manager Katharina Scheidereiter, and CEO of Zdrovit Romania pharmaceuticals company Cristian Iliescu were among the awardees as well.
Part of the event, Romania’s consul general in New York Radu-Catalin Dancu, was presented a “Medal of Honour – Friend of Romania’s Jewish Communities.”
The celebrations continued with a symposium called “135 years since the birth of Dr Wilhelm Filderman – a figurehead of Romania’s Jewry, European promoter of national minorities’ rights defence.” Delivering speeches to the symposium were Radu-Catalin Dancu; Nicolae Dragusin – scientific researcher with the Elie Wiesel National Institute for Holocaust Studies in Romania; Lya Benjamin – researcher with the Centre for Jewish History Studies in Romania, as well as Chairman of the Jewish Community of Bucharest Paul Schwartz.