Weidner Rescuers Prize

The Weidner Rescuers Prize 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 Prize Committee, Michael Guillaume Besançon, is the son of Guillaume Besançon, who escaped from occupied Holland with the help of John Weidner and the Dutch-Paris escape line. Michael became personal friends with John in the late 1970s after John sent him a signed copy of “Flee the Captor”. Like John and Naomi Weidner, Michael owned Natural/health food stores in Southern California. He is the retired Senor Global V.P. of Purchasing, Marketing/Communication and Distribution for Whole Foods Market. A dedicated environmentalist and advocate for animal welfare and the rights of workers, 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.