Hannes Richter

Obituary

Hannes Richter
Paul G. Fried
(1919 - 2006)

Professor of European History and considered the architect of one of the oldest and most highly regarded summer study-abroad programs, the Vienna Summer School. Dr. Paul G. Fried died on July 24 at the age of 87.

Highly regarded as an educator, his legacy was the contribution he made to international academic exchange embodied in the Vienna Summer School which he started in 1965. As a colleague expressed, “he was a bridge-builder” and “believed that promoting understanding between people could build international peace.”

Paul Fried was born in Germany in 1919 to Austrian parents, a doctor and a journalist, whose outspoken opposition to the Nazis led to imprisonment of the entire family and final death of both parents and two brothers. After his release from prison, Dr. Fried was deported to Czechoslovakia, eventually left for England, then to the United States.

In 1940 his path took him to Hope College in Michigan where he began his studies only to be interrupted by working for the U.S. intelligence corps. After the war, he returned to finish his degree and went on to Harvard where he earned a M.A. degree in History in 1947.

Intrigued by the rise of Nazism, Dr. Fried put his Ph.D. on hold in order to work as a translator with the American delegation to the Nuremberg War Trials. He stayed in Germany two years employed by the U.S. Air Force Historical Research Division questioning German prisoners of war who had worked behind the Iron Curtain and were returning to the West.

Following the completion of his Ph.D. at the University of Erlangen  in Germany, Dr. Fried joined Hope College in 1953 where he taught until he retired. He was known to have enormous influence in exciting people about history. His ability to put individual incidents into the context of history’s broad spectacle distinguished his professional life.