Stanford University in Berlin

Krupp Internships / Praktika

Berthold Beitz, Chair of the Krupp Foundation: In Memoriam

Berlin, August 2, 2013

Dear Krupp Interns,

Berthold Beitz, the man who stood with you in the Villa Hügel photo, who initiated your Internship Program 31 years ago, Chair and founder of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Foundation, died at the age of 99 in his vacation home on the North Sea island of Sylt on Tuesday, July 30. This acacemic year's group of interns was the last group to meet him. I attach the official announcement of his death and tribute to his accomplishments issued by the Krupp Foundation.

Herr Beitz was an exemplary man. He was indisputably the most renowned corporate leader in the last 60 years in Germany. But his perspectives were broader, his humanity deeper, than many of his generation. He was humble and understated about the courage he had shown, with his wife, in saving over 200 Jews from Nazi death camps; when he once described to me, with characteristic modesty, what he had done back then, he said simply: "I was not a resistance fighter; what my wife and I did was just the human thing to do." Beitz was an open and progressive man; he publicly opposed Konrad Adenauer's Cold War politics, was an early proponent of détente, wanted to normalize trade with the Soviet Union and East Germany, and persuaded Alfried Krupp, who had spent time in prison for his firm's use of slave labor during WWII, to turn the family fortune into a public foundation. Beitz was from a humble, small-town background (the family did not have enough money for him to attend college) and had an alert, interested way of being with people that made him a natural leader; he commanded great respect, but without arrogance. Over the years, he shook the hand of almost all 1100 of you, asking you where you came from, where you would be interning, often commenting on his own experience with a given firm or a city. When we met with him this May he was too weak to welcome this yearís interns individually, but he gave a warm wave of welcome and posed with us for the annual group photo; his mind was sharp as ever, but he was no longer able to walk without support - and it was my priviledge to provide it that day.

Your program was his program; Berthold Beitz personally proposed, in 1982, that the Foundation provide funds to develop an internship program for Stanford students in Germany. The rest is history. All who knew him were hoping that Herr Beitz would live to celebrate his 100th. At 99 he was still very much in charge of the Foundation; in June, Director of Overseas Studies, Prof. Ramon Saldivar and I visited the Foundation to express the gratitude of the University for three decades of support, but Mr. Beitz himself was unfortunately unable to meet with us personally that day.

Last year, at the festive Villa Hügel luncheon Mr. Beitz hosted for the 30th anniversary of the Krupp Internship Program, alumnus Claus Zoellner (who had visited Beitz, with whom he had a cordial relationship, on Stanford's behalf in 1982 and walked out with the funding for our internship program) addressed the students, quoting a sentence from Pericles that Mr. Beitz has often said was a maxim for his own life. I share it at this sad time with all of you, who have benefitted from the generosity of this great and deeply human man: "Das Geheimnis des Glücks ist die Freiheit, das Geheimnis der Freiheit aber ist der Mut", in English roughly: "The secret of happiness is freedom; the secret of freedom, however, is courage."

Karen Kramer

Download - Berthold Beitz Obituary