Nobel Prize stolen from Frederic Willem de Klerk

MEven in South Africa, Frederic Willem de Klerk would have liked to have won the Nobel Peace Prize while he was still alive. Now, thieves haven’t stolen the award, but they have stolen the medal given to the country’s last white president. De Klerk was in 1993 together with his eventual successor Nelson Mandela for bringing about a “peaceful end to the apartheid regime” and “laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa”. Later, the award to de Klerk repeatedly caused controversy.

Claudia Bröll

Political correspondent for Africa based in Cape Town.

The medal and numerous pieces of jewelery were stolen from the safe of the family home in Cape Town in April, the widow, Elita de Klerk, reported to the news service News24. The prime suspect is a former domestic worker. She reported the theft to the police, but none of the stolen items have been found. The police did not manage to find the suspected man. De Klerk died a year ago at the age of 85 after a long illness.

According to the Nobel Prize Committee, the medal is made of 18-carat gold and weighs 196 grams. On the front are the relief portrait of Alfred Nobel to see, on the back three naked, embracing men and the Latin sentence “Pro pace et fraternitate gentium” (for peace and brotherhood among the peoples). “Prix Nobel de la Paix”, the year of the award and the name of the winner are engraved on the five millimeter thick rim.

Nobel Prize medals have fetched high prices in the past, but often for charitable purposes. The Russian journalist and editor-in-chief of the closed newspaper “Novaya Gazeta”, Dmitry Muratov, had achieved a record price of 103.5 million dollars for his medal at an auction in March. He donated the proceeds to UNICEF to help children in Ukraine. The previous record was set by scientist James Watson in 2014 with $4.76 million. In 1962 he and other researchers decoded the structure of DNA. However, the buyer, a Russian billionaire, gave them back. He said he wanted to express his respect to the biologist. Such prizes would have to stay with their original recipients. In this case, the proceeds were used for scientific research and the fight against cancer. According to the report, the de Klerk family has now received a gold-plated replica of the medal from the Norwegian Nobel Institute.

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