On the death of Buddy Elias (June 2, 1925 - March 16, 2015)

Humanist, contemporary witness and mediator between people

Actor Buddy Elias has died. As President of the Anne Frank Fonds Basel and Anne Frank's cousin, he was committed to a strong and just civil society and community of states.

On Monday March 16, shortly before his 90th birthday, Buddy Elias passed away peacefully in his home in Basel surrounded by his family. With gratitude for the fulfilled life of this humanist, actor and contemporary witness, the Anne Frank Fonds bids farewell to its long-standing President, mentor and friend.

For decades, Buddy Elias campaigned for civil society, dialogue and education against discrimination. As a contemporary witness and cousin of Margot and Anne Frank, he was tirelessly engaged in educational work, human rights and, in particular, the rights of children and adolescents. He was committed to the legacy and memory of the victims of National Socialism, and to the battle against racism and anti-Semitism. His was a voice that spoke out in favour of the weak, disadvantaged and marginalised in all societies.

Buddy Elias followed in the footsteps of his uncle Otto Frank, the founder of the Anne Frank Fonds. As its president Buddy Elias protected the universal legacy of the families and expanded the activity of the foundation as a non-profit organisation. Together with the honorary Board of Trustees, he was responsible for supervising and continuing the active publication of the diary of his cousin Anne Frank. Income from these activities are used for charitable and educational projects. In 2012, he was instrumental in founding the Frank Family Centre in Frankfurt where archives of the Frank, Elias, Stern and Kahn families will be made accessible to the public.

Born in Frankfurt am Main in 1925, where he spent his early years with his cousin Anne Frank, Buddy Elias immigrated to Basel in 1931, together with his Jewish family. After the Second World War, he made his career as a clown with Holiday on Ice, touring the world with the show for 14 years. This was followed by an international career as a stage and film actor. Throughout his life, Buddy Elias was unwaveringly dedicated to the memory of the victims of National Socialism and the battle against discrimination and anti-Semitism. He viewed his honorary role both as a duty towards those members of his family who died at the hands of the National Socialists and as a mission and commitment to communication and dialogue. For this, he was awarded, inter alia, honorary citizenship of the City of Frankfurt

The funeral will be held privately.

Yves Kugelmann

+41 79 371 60 60


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