Rupert Neudeck

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Rupert Neudeck


Rupert Neudeck, Frankfurt 2007
Born(1939-05-14)14 May 1939
Danzig, Free City of Danzig (Gdańsk)
Died 31 May 2016(2016-05-31) (aged 77)
Nationality German
Known for Cap Anamur

Rupert Neudeck (German: [ˈnɔʏdɛk] ; 14 May 1939 – 31 May 2016) was known for his humanitarian work, especially with refugees. He started his career as a noted correspondent for Deutschlandfunk, a German public broadcaster. [1] Later, he focused on assisting those fleeing conflict. He was noted for his role in assisting thousands of refugees from Vietnam in the late 1970s. [2] Neudeck was a winner of numerous awards, including the Theodor Heuss Medal, the Bruno Kreisky Prize for Services to Human Rights, the Erich Kaestner Award and the Walter Dirks Award, and was co-founder of both the Cap Anamur and Green Helmets humanitarian organizations. [3]

Deutschlandfunk, abbreviated DLF, is a German public broadcasting radio station, broadcasting national news and current affairs.

The Bruno Kreisky Prize for Human Rights is a biennial award created in October 1976 on the occasion of the 65th birthday of Bruno Kreisky. The laureates are rewarded for their achievements in the field of human rights. The prize was divided in 1993 into a human rights prize and a prize in recognition of merit. The Bruno Kreisky Foundation for Human Rights has awarded in 14 conferments more than 130 individuals, institutions and human rights projects for outstanding services to the development and protection of international human rights and extraordinary achievements in the area of humanitarian aid. The prize winners are chosen both by the Board of Trustees of the Bruno Kreisky Foundation and by an international jury.

Cap Anamur

Cap Anamur is a humanitarian organisation with the goal of helping refugees and displaced people worldwide.


Early life and education

Neudeck was born in Danzig, then the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland), and lived in Danzig-Langfuhr (now Wrzeszcz) until 1945. In the final months of World War II, when large numbers of German civilians were being evacuated from eastern Germany, his family had received tickets for the passenger ship MV Wilhelm Gustloff , which left Gdingen (now Gdynia) on 31 January 1945 and was sunk by a Soviet submarine with huge loss of life. The Neudecks missed the sailing, which probably saved their lives. [4]

Free City of Danzig semi-autonomous city-state that existed between 1920 and 1939

The Free City of Danzig was a semi-autonomous city-state that existed between 1920 and 1939, consisting of the Baltic Sea port of Danzig and nearly 200 towns and villages in the surrounding areas. It was created on 15 November 1920 in accordance with the terms of Article 100 of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles after the end of World War I.

Gdańsk City in Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland

Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast. With a population of 464,254, Gdańsk is the capital and largest city of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and the capital of Kashubia. It is Poland's principal seaport and the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.

Wrzeszcz borough of Gdańsk, Poland

Wrzeszcz is one of the boroughs of the Northern Polish city of Gdańsk. With a population of more than 65,000 in an area of 9.9 square kilometres, Wrzeszcz is the most populous part of Gdańsk.

He studied various subjects in West Germany, including law and Catholic theology. Neudeck decided to work in journalism, first as a student editor at the University of Münster, then professionally for Catholic radio. In 1977 Neudeck became a correspondent for Deutschlandfunk. [1]

West Germany Federal Republic of Germany in the years 1949–1990

West Germany is the common English name for the Federal Republic of Germany in the period between its creation on 23 May 1949 and German reunification on 3 October 1990. During this Cold War era, NATO-aligned West Germany and Warsaw Pact-aligned East Germany were divided by the Inner German border. After 1961 West Berlin was physically separated from East Berlin as well as from East Germany by the Berlin Wall. This situation ended when East Germany was dissolved and split into five states, which then joined the ten states of the Federal Republic of Germany along with the reunified city-state of Berlin. With the reunification of West and East Germany, the Federal Republic of Germany, enlarged now to sixteen states, became known simply as "Germany". This period is referred to as the Bonn Republic by historians, alluding to the interwar Weimar Republic and the post-reunification Berlin Republic.

University of Münster German public university

The University of Münster is a public university located in the city of Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany.

Humanitarian work

Memorial in Hamburg, Germany, from Vietnamese boat people, giving thanks to the Cap Anamur. Hamburg-cap-anamur-dank-gedenken.JPG
Memorial in Hamburg, Germany, from Vietnamese boat people, giving thanks to the Cap Anamur.

In 1979, Rupert Neudeck and his wife Christel, along with a group of friends, formed the committee "A ship for Vietnam" and chartered the commercial freighter Cap Anamur for a rescue mission to Southeast Asia. The mission eventually saved more than 10,000 Vietnamese boat people fleeing Vietnam after the war. [2]

Vietnamese boat people refugees from Vietnam

Vietnamese boat people, also known simply as boat people, were refugees who fled Vietnam by boat and ship following the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. This migration was at its highest in 1978 and 1979, but continued through the early 1990s. The term is also often used generically to refer to all the Vietnamese who left their country by any means between 1975 and 1995. This article uses boat people to apply only to those who fled Vietnam by boat.

Vietnam War 1955–1975 conflict in Vietnam

The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or simply the American War, was a conflict in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975, with U.S. involvement ending in 1973. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; South Vietnam was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. The war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war from some US perspectives. It lasted some 19 years and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist states in 1975. The outcome of the war humiliated the United States and diminished its reputation in the world.

Following the Cap Anamur missions, he continued his humanitarian work on various other projects that aided refugees. [5] The Green Helmets (Grünhelme) Association, founded in 2003, is dedicated to rebuilding schools, villages, and medical services in various war-torn regions, particularly those in Islamic countries. [6] More recently, he worked to aid Syrian refugees. He was listed on Unsere Besten ("Our Best"), a German poll similar to 100 Greatest Britons.

Unsere Besten was a television series shown in German public television (ZDF) in November 2003, similar to the BBC series 100 Greatest Britons and that program's spin-offs.

The 100 Greatest Britons was a television series broadcast by the BBC in 2002. It was based on a television poll conducted to determine who the British people at that time considered the greatest Britons in history. The series included individual programmes featuring the top ten, with viewers having further opportunity to vote after each programme. It concluded with a debate and final determination of the ranking of the top ten. Although many living people were included among the top 100, all of the top ten were deceased.

In 2005, Neudeck was featured in an interview on the Vietnamese entertainment show Paris By Night 77 , which commemorated the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and the work of the Cap Anamur Committee. [7] Neudeck's humanitarian efforts continued up to the time of his death. Most recently he assisted with the emigration of refugees from Syria and Eritrea to Germany. [8]

Fall of Saigon

The Fall of Saigon, or the Liberation of Saigon, was the capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, by the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam on 30 April 1975. The event marked the end of the Vietnam War and the start of a transition period to the formal reunification of Vietnam into the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

In 2014 Neudeck received the Dr.Rainer Hildebrandt Human Rights Award endowed by Alexandra Hildebrandt. The award is given annually in recognition of extraordinary, non-violent commitment to human rights.


Neudeck died on 31 May 2016, from complications after heart surgery, aged 77. [9] [10]

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  1. 1 2 Christoph Koch: Wie wird man eigentlich … Entwicklungshelfer, Rupert Neudeck? [ permanent dead link ] In: FAZ Hochschulanzeiger. September 2004.
  2. 1 2 The Associated Press (31 May 2016). "German NGO Cap Anamur Founder Rupert Neudeck Dies at 77". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  3. "Rupert Neudeck ist tot". Die Zeit (in German). 31 May 2016.
  4. Flüchtlingspolitik: "Zu mehr Großzügigkeit zurückkehren", Rupert Neudeck im Gespräch mit Christoph Heinemann, Deutschlandfunk, 2 January 2015 (in German)
  5. Bischoff, Eva; Engel, Elisabeth, eds. (2013). Colonialism and Beyond: Race and Migration From a Postcolonial Perspective. Vienna: LIT Verlag. pp. 115–117. ISBN   978-3643902610.
  6. "Homepage of Grünhelme e.V." [Homepage of Green Helmets voluntary association] (in German). Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  7. DVD Track List
  8. "Diese Menschen wollen hier etwas tun"
  9. "Gründer von Hilfsorganisationen – Rupert Neudeck gestorben". Deutschlandfunk (in German).
  10. Rupert Neudeck, refugee advocate, dead at 77