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CIPRA mourns Wolfgang Burhenne

Wolfgang Burhenne at CIPRA’s 60th anniversary celebrations with the then CIPRA president Dominik Siegrist in Rottach-Egern. © CIPRA International.

The nature conservationist and environmental campaigner Wolfgang Burhenne, whose activities took him all round the world, died on 6 January 2017. The 93-year old was a co-founder and the first secretary-general of CIPRA.

Wolfgang Burhenne had an eventful life. In 1941 the then 17-year old was conscripted into the German army: a short time later he was arrested and placed in solitary confinement in Dachau because he had supported concentration camp prisoners and had procured weapons for the underground. He survived 37 months in Dachau and other camps. After the war he studied law, forestry and political sciences. Apart from his activity as the director of the inter-parliamentary working group, he became involved in nature conservation and environmental politics. Wolfgang Burhenne always remained faithful to the Alps, for example while representing the World Conservation Union IUCN on the committees of the Alpine Convention, where his outstanding knowledge of international environmental law was highly appreciated.

Peter Hasslacher, president of CIPRA Austria, praised this “Alpine citizen of the world” as follows: “Wolfgang Burhenne made his mark on CIPRA in the early years: he then benevolently assisted it, thought ahead on its behalf and paid careful attention to it until the end of his life. He was a universally appreciated doyen of the Alpine Convention and of international environmental law, who also made us aware both of the snags of undesirable regional trends and of the opportunities”. Wolfgang Burhenne was an honorary member of CIPRA and in 2011 received the third German Alpine Prize from CIPRA Germany. CIPRA wishes to convey its heartfelt condolences to his family.

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