Reinhold Robbe, president of the German-Israeli Society, on Tuesday presented President Shimon Peres with the first Ernst Cramer medal.

More than 50 years ago, Peres was one of the few Israelis who called for a dialogue between post-Nazi Germany and Israel, and was active in fostering friendship and diplomatic relations between the two countries.

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The presentation of the medal was made at the president’s residence in the presence of German Ambassador Andreas Michaelis, a delegation of the German-Israel Society, Ernst Cramer’s daughter and Grisha Alroi, the managing director of the Israel-German Chamber of Commerce, among others.

Ernst Cramer, whom Peres knew personally, was the editor of Welt am Sonntag from 1981 to 1995 and chairman of the board of the Axel Springer foundation till his death in 2010.

Cramer had served as deputy editor-in-chief of Die Welt and was a close friend and collaborator of Axel Springer, the iconic publisher who until his death in 1985 was a great supporter of Israel and a personal friend of Jerusalem’s late mayor Teddy Kollek.

Cramer, who was Jewish, was a victim of Nazi persecution and imprisoned in the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1938. In 1939 he fled to America until 1945 when he returned to Germany as an American soldier and subsequently became a leading figure in the German media and in the reconciliation efforts between Germany and Israel.

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