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Updated 10:54 AM May 28, 2008
 

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Obituary
Andrew Ehrenkreutz

Andrew Ehrenkreutz, professor emeritus, scholar, historian, political activist and U-M football fan, died April 6 in Melbourne, Australia, following a crippling stroke. Friends and family remembered him as an individual who once thrust onto the stage of world history never stepped down, and in the process became bigger than life.

Born in 1921 in Warsaw, Poland, Ehrenkreutz belonged to the first generation of Poles raised in an independent Poland following 123 years of statelessness. He came from a distinguished, intellectual, patriotic and civically engaged family.
Ehrenkreutz

Like many of his contemporaries, Ehrenkreutz was engulfed by the outbreak of World War II. He served with 1st Polish Grenadiers in France and in 1940 was taken prisoner by the Germans on the front in Lorraine. He spent the remaining years of the war in POW camps, except for two escapes from Stalag 4B near Leipzig. After liberation, he was placed in a Displaced Persons Camp. In 1946, along with his wife Blandyna, whom he married in 1945, he joined his mother and stepfather in Palestine, where he became interested in the history of the Middle East.

The Ehrenkreutzes moved to England in 1947 where Andrew completed his doctorate at the University of London's School of Oriental Studies. In 1949 the couple also had a son, Stefan. In 1953 Ehrenkreutz accepted a post-doctorate fellowship to Yale University, and in the summer of 1954 he moved to Ann Arbor as a visiting lecturer in Islamic History at U-M. From 1967-85 he was professor in both the departments of Near Eastern studies and history. Upon retirement he was made professor emeritus and in 1987 moved to Australia with his wife to join their son Stefan and his family. Ehrenkreutz was the author of numerous scholarly articles and a major biography of the 12th Century Muslim conqueror Saladin, published by SUNY Press.

In the 1960s, Andrew Ehrenkreutz became active in the Polish American Congress and its efforts on behalf of an independent Poland. In the 1970s he was the moving force behind and co-founder of STUDIUM: The North American Studies Center for Polish Affairs, which became a leading source of information and support for the democratic opposition in Poland and later, the newly established Solidarity trade union. As president of STUDIUM, Andrew often was in Washington, D.C., carrying the message of support for Polish dissidents and trade unionists to the State Department and the Congress. He issued policy white papers, participated in high-level diplomatic discussions and wrote letters that were published in the major U.S media including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. After immigrating to Australia, he founded the Australian Institute of Polish Affairs (AIPA) and was a key figure in PolishU+00E2U+0080U+0093Jewish dialogue.

While at U-M, in addition to pursuing his academic interests and responsibilities, Ehrenkreutz also was instrumental in helping Peter Ostafin establish the Copernicus Endowment that has attracted world famous Polish intellectuals, scholars and artists to the University.

He was an enthusiastic U-M sports fan, regularly attending football, basketball and hockey games.

Ehrenkreutz is survived by his son, Stefan, daughterU+00E2U+0080U+0093in-law Carmel and a granddaughter Emilia in Australia. Interment will take place on July 9 at the Cemetery of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Memorial contributions may be made to the U-M Copernicus Endowment, 1080 S. University, Suite 4668, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106.
— Submitted by Marian Krzyzowski, Ann Arbor

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