The Dangerous Prize - Nobel Peace Center

Nobel Peace Center


  1. Photo: Johannes Granseth / Nobel Peace Center
  2. Carl von Ossietzkys death mask, on loan from Cvo-University of Oldenburg

    Photo: Johannes Granseth / Nobel Peace Center
  3. Photo: Courtesy of the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg

The Dangerous Prize

09 June 2016–26 Feb 2017

An exhibition about whistleblower Carl von Ossietzky and the Nobel Peace Prize that shook Europe.

The Nobel Peace Prize for 1935 is one of history’s most controversial. But awarding the prize to the German journalist, editor and pacifist Carl von Ossietzky would become known as one of the committee’s most important – and most justified – decisions. The Nobel Peace Prize that was announced 80 years ago – one year delayed – went to the fearless pacifist who warned the world about German remilitarization in breach of the Treaty of Versailles before WW2.

A dangerous prize

The prize to Ossietzky was a dangerous one. For the first time, the Nobel Peace Prize went to a dissident convicted for treason. In the Nobel Committee, internal disagreement prevailed, and two of its members stepped down by fear of German reactions. The Norwegian Royal Family chose not to attend the ceremony. The press debate was fierce, both in Norwegian and international newspapers. In Germany, Hitler was outraged when he heard the news.

Ossietzky himself paid a high prize for his freedom of expression, but when he went to serve his sentence for treason, he said: “I do not bend, I demonstrate.”


This film shows some of the highlights from the exhibition:

Who was this fearless critic and whistleblower, and why did awarding him the Peace Prize create such a furore? In the exhibition The Dangerous Prize, we go behind the scenes of the Peace Prize that shook Europe and shed new light to Ossietzky’s life and to the work of the Nobel Committee.

Died for peace

Carl von Ossietzky fought and died for peace and for freedom of expression. He continues to inspire many people, but despite the fact that freedom of expression is a burning topic in today’s society, Ossietzky has been largely forgotten. With this exhibition, we want to give him the place he deserves among the most iconic Peace Prize laureates, and help his story live on.

The exhibition is developed in cooperation with the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg, and with the support of Fritt Ord, Goethe-Institut,The Norwegian Ministry of Culture’s gift reinforcement programme and the UNESCO-commission.