Holocaust survivors, business, political and entertainment industry leaders and members of the Jewish community were in attendance when the Simon Wiesenthal Center bestowed its highest honor, the 2009 Humanitarian Award, upon actor and philanthropist Will Smith at its National Tribute Dinner in Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 5, 2009.
The award was given to Smith for his "commitment to education, cultural diversity, and social responsibility," and was presented by actress Charlize Theron. Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks served as Master of Ceremonies.
The Wiesenthal Center also presented Medals of Valor to Karnit Goldwasser, wife of murdered Israeli soldier Ehud Goldwasser, for her commitment to speaking out against terrorism and for the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, held by Hamas in Gaza for almost three year; Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III, the heroic pilot responsible for the "Miracle on the Hudson," when he masterfully landed US Airways Flight 1459 on the Hudson River and saved the lives of 155 people; and Marion Pritchard, for saving the lives of hundreds of Dutch Jews during World War II, most of whom were children.
Benefits from the evening help support the educational programs of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance.