In January 2018, a special ceremony took place at the Lahdelmä & Mahlamäki Architects office in Helsinki. The Chairman of The Rogatchi Foundation Michael Rogatchi and the Foundation’s President Inna Rogatchi handed the Foundation Humanist of the Year 2018 Award to the world-famous architect Rainer Mahlamäki.

In the presence of all over forty colleagues of the great architect, the co-founders of The Rogatchi Foundation awarded Rainer with the special Diploma and unique art work, the Inna Rogatchi’s The Light of the Way work dedicated to Mahlamäki and created after his famus design of the POLIN museum in Warsaw. The work has been done in only copy.

The same work produced in another technique as an exhibitional piece, has become the title work of the Inna Rogatchi’s new exhibition Shining Souls. Champions of Humanity which had been opened at  the same day at the Library of the Finnish Parliament. It has become the first event dedicated to the theme of the Holocaust which has been organised within the walls of the Parliament of Finland. The exhibition in Helsinki has been an expanded version of the Shining Souls exhibition inaugurated in 2017 at the European Parliament. In Finland, it has been Helsinki Edition of the collection of works dedicated to the heroes of Holocaust and those people who has contributed in a meaningful way into the Holocaust memory – such as professor Mahlamäki.

In their awarding speeches, Michael and Inna Rogatchi were telling about The Rogatchi Foundation and its international work during about 15 years of its existence, and as continuation of the previous international charity founded and run by the Rogatchis, Arts Against Cancer, AAC, from 1989 onward. They also told about The Rogatchi Foundation Humanist of Year award, and who were the people awarded with this distinction, and why. 

With regard to the  awarding professor Mahlamäki with the Humanist of the Year 2017 award, Inna Rogatchi turned to the Jewish Haggadah, the festive text for the Passover. “The one of the Haggadah motives in description of the Creator’s miracles and the Jewish people’s appreciation and gratitude for it, is phrased in the way ‘ if You would create such miracle only, we would be grateful to you; if you would create the previously mentioned and another miracle, we would be grateful to You; and so on, it goes for several major miracles which are the back-bone of the Jewish belief. Paraphrasing this approach, I would like to say to Rainer : “if you would create POLIN, we would be grateful to you; if you would create the project for the Centre of the Documentation of the National-Socialism, we would be grateful to you; if you would create the project for the Holocaust Memorial in  London, we would be grateful to you; if you would create the Requiem  project for the Siege of Leningrad Museum in St Petersburg, we would be grateful to you; if you would create The Lost Shtetl Museum and Memorial centre, we would be grateful to you; but – you have created it all!”

In his accepting speech, great Finnish and world architect Rainer Mahlamäki was saying on how happy and proud he was being awarded by The Humanist of the Year 2017 Award. “Architecture is a very human profession and sector of human activities; in any case, it should be emphatically human to succeed. It is also very important to build up the spaces which would work as living memory for anyone who is visiting them would it be in Poland, Lithuania, Russia, United States, or any given country in the world. In order to do that, an architect has to become also a historian, a researcher, a scientist, to some degree, and at the same time, he also should be very well versed in emphatically humanitarian fields , such a literature, in order to grasp not only facts, but also emotions. And above all, he should be motivated and ruled by the principles of humanism  – otherwise, any of his professional skills, whatever high it might be, would never succeed. To be heard by people, an architect must promote humanism. And we are learning to do it all our life”.