The city of Aachen, once the focus of the entire occidental world and which then became a city on the border, has always consciously been aware of its historical problem with true unity: “communication and overcoming boundaries”. Blood ties bind the inhabitants of our city with populations in neighbouring states and there have always been intellectually superior and forward-looking men in Aachen who fought against national prejudice and assumed interests to find and unite occidental space and culture.
After two world wars, which had a particularly negative influence on the marginality of our city and when honest attempts over several generations to overcome imagined national differences turned out to be futile, our wreckage of a sunken city struggles on for its right to exist. However, boosted by its terrible experiences, it is ready, now more than ever, to advocate western unity and, as an essential preliminary step towards this, economic unity. As advances in humanity have always stemmed from inspirational characters who, despite all opposition, have devoted themselves completely to their beliefs, it must be useful and beneficial to use these men as examples and to imitate and realise their beliefs.
Because of this, a number of residents of our city, Aachen, who will always, because they were born here or have fulfilled their life ambitions here, be linked to this area, agreed to INTERNATIONAL PRIZE OF AACHEN which is to commemorate the great founder of western culture and is to be named “THE CHARLEMAGNE PRIZE OF THE CITY OF AACHEN”. It will be awarded annually to commendable individuals who have encouraged political, economic and intellectual ideas on western unity.
In collaboration with the mayor, the Chief Municipal Director, the Bishop of Aachen, the Vice Chancellor of the Technical University and further representatives of business and intellectual life, an organisation has been founded in our city, that will carry out the tasks linked with the awarding of the “Charlemagne Prize of the city of Aachen.” This organisation, charged with acting and speaking in the name of our great historical traditions, shall nominate a prize winner in 1950 and, after a vote, publically announce the winner. This does not only aim to continually highlight the unsolved problem of European unity, but it will try to also indicate practical solutions to this pressing issue. It also does not only strive for the understanding and cooperation of Aachen’s population, but of the entire western world as well.
Aachen, Christmas 1949
- Dr. Albert Maas, Lord Mayor
- Albert Servais, Chief Municipal Director
- Dr. Johannes Josef van der Velden, Bishop of Aachen
- Professor Wilhelm Müller, Chancellor of the Technical University
- Dr. Kurt Pfeiffer, Businessman
- Hermann Heusch, President of the Chamber of Commerce
- Dr. Franz Krauß, University Professor
- Ludwig Kuhnen, Mayor
- Dr. Peter Mennicken, University Professor
- Carel Nieuwenhuysen, Director
- Erasmus Schlapp, Fabric Manufacturer
- Dr. Jean Louis Schrader, General Director