Weidner Rescuers Award

The Weidner Rescuers Award is an endowed humanitarian prize awarded to living persons who have risked their lives to save, shelter, aid, or protect others in ways that recall the actions and spirit of John Weidner during World War II. The Award Jury seeks to recognize persons who, like John Weidner, have fulfilled all or some of the following criteria:

1. Acted repeatedly or over an extended period of time,
2. At significant risk to their own lives,
3. Using nonviolent methods,
4. To save the lives of persons faced with genocide, ethnic cleansing, political repression, state-sponsored violence, human trafficking, or religious persecution.

The first Award recipient will be announced in November 2021, on the 25th anniversary of the Weidner Foundation.

The Chair of the Weidner Rescuers Award Committee, Michael Guillaume Besançon, is the retired Senor Global V.P. of Purchasing, Marketing/Communication and Distribution for Whole Foods Market. An ardent environmentalist and champion of workers’ and animal rights, Michael holds an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from EARTH University, Costa Rica where he has also served on the EARTH University Foundation Board for the last 10 years. Like John and Naomi Weidner, Michael owned Natural/health food stores in Southern California, and first met John Weidner in the late 1970s when John sent a copy of “Flee the Captor” to Michael, whose own father, Guillaume Besançon, escaped from occupied Holland assisted by John and the Dutch-Paris line.