The Erwin Fischer Award

The laureates


Nesin Vakfi
The laudation was held by Dr. Yüksel Pazarkaya.


James Randi
The laudation was held by Armadeo Sarma.

Commemorative publication "Wenn ich das mache, dann ist es ein Trick..." (ISBN 3-932710-98-3)


Dr. Taslima Nasrin
The laudation was held by Christa Stolle.

Commemorative publication "Ich träume von einer vollkommen säkularen Welt" (ISBN 3-932710-97-5)


Dr. Karlheinz Deschner
The laudation was held by Professor Dr. Ludger Lütkehaus.

Commemorative publication "An ihren Früchten sollt ihr sie erkennen ..." (ISBN 3-932710-96-7).


Professor Dr. Johannes Neumann und Dipl. Psychologist Ursula Neumann
The laudation was held by Professor Dipl. Ing. Dr. Baeger.

Commemorative volume "Zur Bedrohung der Religions- und Weltanschauungsfreiheit in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland", containing contributions of the award winners and the laudator. (ISBN 3-932710-95-9)

About Erwin Fischer

The award is named after the lawyer Erwin Fischer (1904-1996), who was the first jurist to criticize the legal nature of the narrow relationship of state and church in Germany and who defended non-denominational people. Erwin Fischer, born 1904 at Reutlingen, left the church in 1919. From 1922 to 1925 he studied law in Munich, Hamburg and Berlin. Since 1930 he acted as a lawyer in Berlin, and from October 1930 he also was the manager of the "Deutsche Hochschule für Politik" (i.e. the German University for politics - translator's remark). In 1933 he was dismissed and additionally the government prohibited him from holding lectures because of his membership in the social democratic party (SPD). During the Nazi rule he worked as a lawyer (Paul Hindemith was one of the persons he defended). 1942 he had to become a soldier. After his return (he was a prisoner of war) 1945 Erwin Fischer began again to work as a lawyer. He founded the "Gesellschaft für Bürgerrechte" (Society for civil rights) and was one of the persons who founded the "Humanistische Union" in 1961. 1993 he got the Fritz Bauer Award.

As a lawyer he had several cases in which he defended the civil rights, especially of non-denominational and non-christians. In 1959 one case came before the Constitutional Court. In 1965 he succeeded when he defended a couple. Up to this time the marital partner's income was regarded when the church tax of a member of a church, which was entitled to get church taxes, was calculated and the marital partner had to pay this tax for the other one, even if he/she was no member of this church. The Constitutional Court decided that this did not agree with the German constitution. In his book "Trennung von Staat und Kirche", first published in 1964, he formulated his vision of a modern society in which there would be no more privileges for particular religious societies. He was a fighter for a reform of the laws concerning the relationship between state and church - which hasn't taken place yet.