News |Obituary for Freimut Duve

Freimut Duve

Freimut Duve, former Member of the German Bundestag, died on March 3, 2020 in Hamburg after a long illness.

From the outset, Freimut supported the project of creating a place of remembrance at the former Pacific Palisades residence of German-Jewish author Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife Marta. As Chairman of the Bundestag’s Committee on Culture, his endorsement carried considerable weight during the formative phase of this monument to those exiled from the so-called Third Reich. I vividly recall our first meeting at a round table discussion initiated by Shepard Stone, then director of the Aspen Institute, in Schwanenwerder during the Summer of 1988. From that day forward, Freimut was a passionate proponent and advocate for Villa Aurora. He would go on to lead and put his stamp on the organization, serving as member and Chair of the Board of Directors from 1998 to 2009. He enhanced our program with many important ideas and proposals and ensured the German Parliament’s continued support when the restoration of Villa Aurora was delayed for years due to restrictions stipulated by the Coastal Commission.

Thanks to his worldwide network of contacts, Freimut was able to establish a wide variety of connections within the Jewish community in the United States.  He secured the support of Lee Ramer, former Chief of Protocol to the Mayor of Los Angeles, who joined the Advisory Board in 1995, when the Villa celebrated its grand opening.  Regardless of where his extensive travels took him, he always made himself available to address the concerns of our organization and was an invaluable resource for the Executive Director. Villa Aurora has profited immensely from his broad knowledge and his manifold interests. Even when he became too ill to attend events or association meetings, he never lost his enthusiasm for our organization and would call regularly to inquire about new developments and offer suggestions.

Not just our institution, but all who feel strongly about the importance of foreign cultural policy owe a debt of gratitude to Freimut. We will always honor his memory.

-Marianne Heuwagen, Deputy Chairwoman, Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House

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