On Friday the 11th of April, a ceremony to take leave from Helmut took place in Vienna.
I was impressed to see scholars and friends who came all the way from Germany, France, UK, USA and Japan. Further, practically every one in Vienna who is or had been working at the ISTB (University of Vienna) or at the Institutes for the Intellectual History of Asia, of Iranistic and of Social Anthropology of the Academy of Sciences was there. Until the cerimony I had thought of myself as a friend of Helmut, but at the cerimony I discovered that Helmut had almost no “aquaintances”, since all possible “aquaintances” were in fact “friends”. I also noticed that we shared many similar memories: of a straight, non-conventional person who was not afraid to enjoy life with friends. Ernst Steinkellner, Christina Scherrer-Schaub, Leonard van der Kuijp, Vincent Eltschinger also shared their memories of a talented pupil who developed himself into an academic who was passionate about his work, and also into a generous mentor.
It was especially a pleasure to meet Helmut’s daughter, who was exactly as I had imagined her through Helmut’s words and stories: also a straight human being who even in such circumstances has been able to avoid resorting to empty forms.
She told us about a discussion she had with Helmut several months ago: When I am no longer there —said Helmut— I do not want people to be sad and cry, they should rather raise their glasses in my name.
Prosit, Helmut. You made so many people happy to have met you.