The workers and friends of the International Youth Meeting Centre mourn for Dr Richard Pyritz, who passed away on 12th Mai in Lübeck.
Richard Pyritz was born in 1940 and as an active German and European over years accompanied the work of the Meeting Centre and supported its activities financially. Richard Pyritz came from the Rotary movement and kept in touch with numerous friends and like-minded persons among Rotarians all over the world. These friendships laid the groundwork for his deep sympathy and involvement with the lives of other people, whom he helped in difficult life situations with all his heart and power. This way he became a famous and acknowledged public figure in the town of Oswięcim as well as in German-Polish dialogue: his readiness to help was legendary and his vigor never gave out.
We will always keep in memory the intensity of meetings and talks with our friend Richard Pyritz. Our gratitude goes to him and his wife Ilse.
The workers and friends of the International Youth Meeting Centre in Oświęcim/Auschwitz
Richard Pyritz (30.04.1940-12.05.2017) was one of the most active supporters of friendship between the Germans and the Poles. In acknowledgement of his merit for German-Polish reconciliation and his contribution to spreading the truth about WWII and Auschwitz Dr Richard Pyritz was awarded the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany as well as numerous distinctions of the authorities, universities, and institutions.
He was a longtime Chairman of the German section of the Polish-German Committee and the Honorary President of the European Youth Parliament of Neighbouring Countries.
As an active member of the Rotary International, he initiated and coordinated a large number of charity projects in Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus, including the flood relief activities for the inhabitants of Lower Silesia in 1997 and Oświęcim in 2010.
With time Oświęcim became a place in Poland, which was closest to his heart. He realized over 100 charity projects for the total sum of around 3,7 million zloty in the town on the Sola river, including the purchase of specialized medical equipment for the Powiat Hospital and Hospice, tools and devices for the Salesian Club for Children and Youth, garden rearrangement in the Social Aid Club in Bobrek as well as the annual action of distributing Christmas parcels to children from poor families. For this engagement he was distinguished with the Medal of the Town of Oświęcim. He was a co-founder and an honorary member of the Rotary Club in Oświęcim and a longtime and active member of the Foundation Council of the International Youth Meeting Centre.
The Centre owes to Richard Pyritz not only his friendliness and ever-present smile, but also support of the Centre’s pedagogical activity as well as the purchase of the new electronic equipment for our work. In the last years Richard Pyritz got involved into founding the Documentation Centre “Witnesses” in the IYMC. The opening of the fully equipped rooms for the future Documentation Centre took place last spring in the honorary presence of Zofia Posmysz.
Every worker of the IYMC could rely on him. No one would be left out without help. He was always with us. He was at home here. We are grateful for the good time spent together.