Panthers owner, former German consul to receive Echo Foundation honors

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and the family of a man who was part of the plot to assassinate Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler will be honorees at the Echo Foundation’s 16th annual awards program Sept. 10.

Richardson will receive the Echo Award Against Indifference for his business and civic contributions, along with his often-anonymous and behind-the-scenes efforts to help others.

Kurt Waldthausen, a Charlotte resident, will be honored with the Echo Family Legacy Award on behalf of his grandfather, Walter Cramer, who publicly condemned Hitler’s persecution of the Jews and joined in the unsuccessful July 20, 1944, attempt on the German leader’s life.

The awards ceremony will include a panel discussion featuring Nobel Prize chemistry winners Peter Agre and Martin Chalfie, discussing “The Future of Science.”

Echo Foundation president and co-founder Stephanie Ansaldo said most of the public has no idea how many people Richardson has helped.

“I have a packet of about 40 letters of congratulations and stories about what he has done,” she said.

She said an African-American man who worked as a cook at a Richardson-owned restaurant decades ago wrote of how Richardson gave him pride by moving him to a position where he met with patrons. A woman who is now a doctor wrote that Richardson’s benevolence helped her rise from poverty in the 1950s and 1960s to become a successful professional.

“Some of these tributes are absolutely beautiful, and they tell a story that many people aren’t aware of,” Ansaldo said.

Waldthausen, former honorary German consul, will accept an award for his grandfather, who was CEO of Stohr and Co., a textile firm in Germany. His criticism of Hitler and participation in the assassination attempt resulted in his being convicted of treason and hanged by the Nazi government on Nov. 14, 1944.

Waldthausen has said that his grandfather’s defiance against the government inspired his own work to build bridges of understanding between Germans and U.S. citizens.