On the front of the Leo Baeck Medal is an image of Rabbi Leo Baeck, (1873 – 1956), and the words, “Leader of German Jewry.” On the reverse, the words are, “so that the memory of a great past may not perish.”
When the medal was presented for the first time to Axel Springer in 1979 by then-LBI President Dr. Max Gruenewald, Dr. Gruenewald noted that we have no title to confer upon those who have helped us preserve the German-Jewish heritage, to those who have helped us continue the work in which we are engaged. We call them friends, and we honor them with the acknowledgement that this medal represents.
The medal is the highest recognition the Leo Baeck Institute can bestow upon those who have supported our mission of preserving the extraordinary spirit of German-speaking Jewry. We have honored those in the cultural realm, in academia, politics and philanthropy, and have found that the illustrious and tragic history reflected in the LBI library and archives has inspired at least two generations to hold fast to this legacy.
Leo Baeck Institute New York takes great pride in honoring a very special friend each year.