Nora Platiel Prize 2021 for outstanding Master's theses (2024)


To promote young academics, the Association for the Promotion of Research and Knowledge Transfer in Social Law and Social Policy invites applications for the Nora Platiel Award for outstanding Master's theses in the fields of social law and social policy.

The committed lawyer and social democrat Nora-Platiel (1896 - 1979) had returned to Germany in 1949 after exile in Paris and Zurich and settled in Kassel. She worked there at the Regional Court and the Higher Regional Court and became Kassel's first Regional Court Director. From 1954 to 1966 she was a member of the Landtag for the SPD, for several years as deputy chair of the SPD parliamentary group. There she earned the reputation of being the "best speaker in parliament".

The prize, named after Nora Platiel, is intended to honour outstanding Master's theses in the fields of social law and social policy written at the University of Kassel, Fulda University of Applied Sciences and the University of Statutory Accident Insurance in Bad Hersfeld, which demonstrate both academic quality and social relevance to a particular degree and combine both.

The prize money is 2,000 euros and the prize is divisible.

Thematically relevant Master's theses can be proposed that were written in degree programmes at the University of Kassel, the University of Applied Sciences Fulda and the Hochschule der Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung in Bad Hersfeld and that were assessed with a grade of at least 2.0 in the summer semester 2020 or in the winter semester 2020/2021 (including oral examination) .

All professors and academic staff of the University of Kassel and the University of Applied Sciences Fulda and the University of Statutory Accident Insurance in Bad Hersfeld who are involved in the Research Association for Social Law and Social Policy, as well as all members of the Association, are eligible to submit proposals.

To be submitted initially by 30.6.2021: a three-page summary of the Master's thesis, the expert reports and a curriculum vitae (in German or English, all documents in a single PDF document). If necessary, we will request the complete master's thesis in a second step. The award is decided by a jury, half of whose members are appointed by the Association for the Promotion of Research and Knowledge Transfer and Social Policy e.V. and half by the Research Association for Social Law and Social Policy.

Contact: Prof. Dr. Anne Walter, Fulda University of Applied Sciences, Department of Social and Cultural Sciences, Attn: Adelheid Lauer, Leipziger Straße 123, 36037 Fulda.

Submissions by email to:adelheid.lauer(at)

Nora Platiel as namesake of the prize

By naming the prize after Nora Platiel, reference is made to a person whose life's work can serve as a role model for young academics and who, with her socio-political and legal commitment in Kassel and Hesse, offers numerous links to the Association for the Promotion of Research and Knowledge Transfer in Social Law and Social Policy and the Research Association for Social Law and Social Policy.

This naming is intended to give visibility to the work of a Jewish lawyer and committed social politician.

In detail, the following moments moved the sponsoring association to name the prize after Nora Platiel:

1. the local and regional relevance of her work,
2. the familiarity of her name in Kassel,
3. the many ways in which it relates to the main areas of work of the association and FoSS,
4. her understanding of socio-political and legal work that transcends disciplinary boundaries and our understanding of committed interdisciplinarity,
5. the naming of the award takes a stand against strengthening anti-Semitic and anti-feminist positions.

Some notes on the life and work of Nora Platiel

(Basis: Texts of the travelling exhibition "Jüdische Juristinnen und Juristinnen jüdischer Herkunft", Deutscher Juristinnenbund e.V. [ed.], 2019, pp. 109-112)

Nora-Platiel was born in Bochum on 14.1.1896 as the eighth of ten children. Her parents Therese and Bendix Block, liberal Jews, ran a ready-made clothing shop in the centre of Bochum. The father's death in 1915 plunged the family into serious financial difficulties. During the time of emigration in Paris, she met Gerhard Kumleben, a member of the International Socialist Fighting League (ISK). The relationship broke up before their son Roger was born in 1934. In 1943 she married Hermann Platiel in Montauban.

After her father's death, she helped her mother in the business, which, however, went bankrupt in 1917. Following her voluntary work with the International War Relief Service during the First World War and activities for Helene Stöcker and Elisabeth Rotten, she graduated from high school in Berlin in 1922 and studied law. Her goal was to become a lawyer in order to "work for the enforcement of law in society". Women's rights, socialism and peace were among her political goals. After her first state examination in 1927 and legal clerkship at the district court of Bochum, she passed her second state examination in 1931. In 1931, she was the first female lawyer to open her office in Bochum. Among other things, she was a defence lawyer in political trials and worked for the Red Help of Germany (RHD).

Since her school days, Nora-Platiel was repeatedly exposed to anti-Semitic experiences. As a Jew, a socialist and the only woman among the lawyers admitted to the bar in Bochum, she directly attracted the attention of the National Socialists, especially Roland Freisler. The SS repeatedly tried to arrest her. She fled to Paris at the beginning of March 1933.

She found a job as editorial secretary at the exile magazine the "Neues Tagebuch" and wrote for "Cahier Juifs", among others. She also worked for the ISK and on a white paper on Hitler's Germany. From 1934 to 1939 she worked for the Omnium Métallurgique company. After her internment in Gurs in 1940 and escape to Montauban, she took over the management of an office of the CAR (Comité d'Assistance aux Réfugiés) there, which was supported by the Swiss Workers' Relief Agency (SAH). She later fled to Switzerland, where she continued to work for the SAH. As refugees were not wanted in Switzerland, she decided to return to Germany in 1949.

The Hessian judicial service hired her as a judge in 1949 and assigned her to a reparations chamber at the Kassel Regional Court. In 1951, after a short stint at the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court, she became Hesse's first Regional Court Director. At the same time, Nora Platiel became involved in prisoner welfare in Kassel.

In her own reparation proceedings, she received compensation in 1956, seven years after filing her claim, which amounted to just 20 per cent of what she would have presumably earned during the 16 years of emigration - minus her real income during that time.

From 1954 onwards, she was elected to the Hessian parliament in three successive legislative periods, and for six years she was deputy parliamentary group leader of the SPD. In this function, she fought, among other things, against the threatening emergency laws and campaigned for a rapprochement with Israel. In addition, she was, among other things, a member of the Hessian State Court and the Judges' Election Committee. In 1962, she was defeated by one vote in the election for the office of Landtag President. In 1966 she left the Landtag; she had been, in the general opinion, the "best speaker in parliament" and the "conscience of the Landtag".

Nora Platiel had joined the "German League for International Law" in 1918, and the SPD in 1922. She worked in the International Youth League (IJB). She was involved in the French exile and also later in Jewish aid organisations. After the dissolution of the IYC, she rejoined the SPD and in time took on a leading role in the Kassel SPD. As a lawyer, she took an active part in the discussions of the time about the discrimination of women in family and labour law. Again and again she pointed out the insufficient denazification of the German judiciary and politics as a politician, lawyer and person concerned.

Nora Platiel died on 6.9.1979 in Kassel.

Nora Platiel Prize 2021 for outstanding Master's theses (1)

Nora Platiel Prize 2021 for outstanding Master's theses (2024)


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