Theodor Haecker Prize of the City of Esslingen



As a sign of solidarity, the "Theodor Haecker Prize of the City of Esslingen am Neckar - International Human Rights Prize for Political Courage" is awarded out of turn to the Belarusian activist Maria Kalesnikava.

"Maria Kalesnikava's unparalleled bravery and her unbroken non-violent resistance against the Lukashenko terror regime are representative of many people who are fighting for freedom and civil rights in Belarus under personal dangers," said Mayor Matthias Klopfer, justifying the decision to accept the Theodor Haecker Prize from the city of Esslingen on Neckar out of order.

Her sister Tatsiana Khomich accepted the award on her behalf. The laudation for the award winner will be held by the President of the Baden-Württemberg State Parliament, Muhterem Aras MdL. Barbara Straub, Commissioner for Equal Opportunities of the City of Esslingen am Neckar, will moderate the event.

As part of the award ceremony, Viktoriia Vitrenko and Jasmin Schädler, founders of the InterAKT Initiative e. V., a musical lecture performance entitled »Love is stronger than fear! Maria Kalesnikava and Political Art«.

The Theodor Haecker Prize is awarded to individuals or groups who have made outstanding contributions to human rights, democracy, freedom, peace and humanity and whose work appears worthy of Theodor Haecker's tradition. An honorable mention can also be awarded.

Theodor Haecker (1879-1945) was a philosopher, cultural critic and writer. He lived in Esslingen for many years. During the Nazi era, Haecker was banned from speaking. His most important work, the diary entries "Day and Night Books", was created during this time.

Esslingen newspaper

City of Esslingen

„Art is a daughter of freedom“


Maria Kalesnikava is awarded the Human Rights Prize 2021 by the Gerhart and Renate Baum Foundation. The award ceremony will take place at the ECLAT Festival Neue Musik Stuttgart 2021

The Musik der Jahrhunderte team and all the artists who work with the house are delighted that their colleague Maria Kalesnikava has been awarded the Human Rights Prize 2021 by the Gerhart and Renate Baum Foundation. The foundation itself wants this award to be understood as "a tribute to the courage and uncompromising nature of a fighter". The prize is associated with 10,000 euros and will be accepted by Tatsiana Khomich, Maria Kalesnikava's sister, on Sunday, February 7, 2021 as part of the ECLAT Festival Neue Musik Stuttgart.

With the human rights prize, the Gerhart and Renate Baum Foundation not only honors Maria Kalesnikava with her unconditional commitment to law and democracy in Belarus. Following the awarding of the Sakharov Prize to the Belarusian democracy movement a few weeks ago, the prize is also intended as a tribute to the courageous Belarusian people and in particular to Belarusian women. Because tens of thousands of Belarusians have been taking to the streets every Sunday since August 2020, even though the Lukashenka regime is acting more and more brutally and arrests over 300 people every week using brute force.

Maria Kalesnikava at Music of the Centuries

Last but not least, with Maria Kalesnikava, the Musik der Jahrhunderte team supports a wonderful colleague and artist, who has been very successful as a social media manager for the house and, since 2018, especially for the festival new music ECLAT. With her talent for reaching people and setting strong images, she did an outstanding job. At the same time, with her inexhaustible reservoir of ideas, she was the driving force behind the new music ensemble TRIO vis-à-vis, which she co-founded. And she was a co-founder of the Artemp Festival and the Stuttgart initiative InterAkt.

In an incredibly short time, the artist and musician Maria Kalesnikava became the charismatic leader of the Belarusian democracy movement because, as the Gerhart and Renate Baum Foundation put it, she knows about the lasting power of art to create spaces for change, or as it once did Friedrich Schiller formulated: "…art is a daughter of freedom"