Amsterdam, 19 October 2013.
At its 19 October meeting in Amsterdam, the CID Board put Barbara Distel, who celebrated her 70th bithday in July 2013 in the spotlight. Her Birthday was celebrated by awarding her the General André-Delpech price., which was handed over by the president of the Comité international Dachau.
The idea of the price was Proposed in May 2010 by Max Mannheimer to thank people who have supported the CID trough special merits In September 2010 Abba Naor suggested that this price should bare the name of General André Delpech, former President of the CID.
Who has devoted herself more to the objectives of the Comité International Dachau then Barbara Distel?
During more than four decades, Barbara Distel has constantly kept the memory of the deportation to Dachau alive and defended the interests of the former concentration camp inmates and their families. She helped setting up the library of the memorial and was involved in the design of the first exhibitions . She was instrumental in the establishment of the religious buildings and the international memorial on the former parade ground. She was always on the side of the International Committee and the survivors during the long struggle for the preservation and restoration of the site of the former concentration camp. She has struggeld for the Americans to leave the west wing and the Jourhaus and for remoddeling the former farm building so that the visitors finally enter into the former concentration camp by the Jourhaus and can open the gate with the inscription "Arbeit macht frei (Work makes you free) ". She fought with the CID on the side of General André Delpech to ensure that the youth hostel finaly became reality. She has worked with all his strength for the construction of the visitor center. With Wolfgang Benz Barbara Distel has made new volumes in the series of "places of terror" and on behalf of the Comité International de Dachau 25 numbers of the "Dachau books" were published. As head of the Dachau memorial for four decades, she has contibuted fundamentaly to the catalogs of the permanent exhibition at the museum, and to the redesign of the memorial at the end of the 90's to 2003.
Being close to the survivors , she has always seen to it that as many as possible return to Dachau and receive a friendly and warm welcome. She has cordial relations with the presidents and general secretaries, who were survivors of Dachau and its sub-camps: Albert Guerisse , Walraeve Georges , Louis -Eugène Sirvent , Georges Arjaliès , Samuel Jean and André Delpech. And not to forget the friendship with Jean Lautissier , Fabien Lacombe, Arthur Haulot , Alex Jacquemart , Paul Kerstenne , Ferdinand Berger, Pim Reintjes , C. Steensma, Alfred and Lina Haag , Otto carbon Hofer and so many other concentration camp survivors from Europe and Israel. One should also not forget the constant help she granted for long years to Stan Zamecnik. By providing him with documents that he needed to continue his research on the history of the Dachau concentration camp, regardless of the difficulties that have been made by politicians.
The CID members also used the presence of Klara Gissing who also retired after decades alongside Barbara at the memorial to thank her for her commitment and for the warm welcome she always prepared the survivors.
The members of the CID bodies, many former concentration camp inmates, representatives of the Dutch camps, and foundations went to the national Dachau Monument afterwards, where the Consul General of the Federal Republic, Bernd Weiser, the mayor of Amstelveen Mr. Van Zanen, Ambassador for Human Rights and former Dutch Consul General in Munich L. Veer, the former Consul General in Munich J. Zaadhof and the Dutch Consul General in Munich Rob Zaagman were present. Mr. Zaadhof presented Barbara Distel with the Knight Order of Oranje-Nassau, to be awarded by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander.
The CID members and their guests then ended the day with a visit to the beautiful musical "Soldier of Orange", which is played in the Theaterhangaar of Valkenburg. This musical is dedicated to the memory of the resistance against National Socialism.