Charlemagne Prize Awarded to Rabbi

Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the European Rabbinical Conference.
Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

Charlemagne Prize Awarded to Rabbi

The president of the European Rabbinical Conference received the Charlemagne Prize on January 19 after officials in Aachen, Germany, announced that Jewish life is a natural part of Europe. For the past 74 years, the Charlemagne Prize has been handed out annually to a person who has helped unify Europe.

Even though Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt is not an outspoken advocate for European Unity, the Board of Directors of the Society for the Conferring of the International Charlemagne Prize decided to award the prize jointly to him and the Jewish communities in Europe.

This announcement comes amid a rise in anti-Semitic crimes in many European countries in the aftermath of Hamas’s Oct. 7, 2023, terrorist attack on Israeli Jews.

Dark history: Charlemagne was a ninth-century emperor of the Franks who slaughtered thousands upon thousands of Saxons in his efforts to forcibly convert Germanic tribes to Catholicism. He was not antagonistic toward the Jews; in fact, he helped many of them establish businesses in his kingdom.

Yet his successors were less friendly. Persecution against Jews became especially widespread throughout the Holy Roman Empire during the Crusades. During the reign of Frederick Barbarossa, Jewish communities in the Rhineland were massacred.

Although Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt may appreciate the gesture, receiving a prize named after an emperor of the Holy Roman Empire is a strange and ironic decision.

Double cross: As the Jews of ninth-century Europe learned, the patronage of one specific king does not mean that you are safe from his subjects and successors. The Jews of modern-day Europe should take this lesson to heart.

Receiving the Charlemagne Prize may be an “honor,” but anti-Semitic attacks are still on the rise across Europe.

Bible prophecy says Germany will double-cross Israel. Hosea 5:13 shows that Judah and Ephraim (the modern-day descendants of Israel) will call out to King Jareb of Assyria (the leader a modern-day Holy Roman Empire) for help, but they will be conquered by the very people they view as peacemakers.

Learn more: Read “Should Israel Trust Germany?