8 September 2017

Mourning for Dietrich Papenfuß

The long-standing department head and Deputy Secretary General of the Humboldt Foundation passed away on 31 August.

Dietrich Papenfuß
Photo: private

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation mourns the death of Dr Dietrich Papenfuß who headed the Department for Follow-up Contacts for many years and served as Deputy Secretary General until 1999. Dr Papenfuß died on 31 August 2017.

Born in 1936, Dietrich Papenfuß studied chemistry at the Technical University of Berlin, his hometown, where he also earned a doctorate in 1964. Following periods abroad in Canada and Asia, he became head of the then Department “Sponsorship abroad” at the Humboldt Foundation in March 1967. He held this position until his retirement at the end of 1999. He was also Deputy Secretary General of the Foundation since 1988.

Together with Heinrich Pfeiffer, the Humboldt Foundation’s former Secretary General from 1956 to 1994 who died late last year, Papenfuß helped shape the Foundation for more than 32 years. He helped build up the then quite small Department for Follow-up Contacts which today looks after 28,000 alumni and members of the Humboldt network. In this function he actively maintained contact with many Humboldtians, even after retirement, and was one of the best known members of the Humboldt Foundation.

Dietrich Papenfuß last lived outside Berlin.


Georg Scholl
Head of
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Phone: +49 228 833-258
Fax: +49 228 833-441