To say I am pained at the death of Ivan Havel – a hero, a scientist, a Zeitgeist and my friend – doesn’t begin to cover it. He was one of the first dissidents I developed a close rapport with – during, and mostly after – the fall of Communism.
Ivan was the part of the iceberg under the waterline. The 95% that holds up the top. Courageous. Thoughtful. Unselfish. Giving. A supporter of the people. A quiet fighter against a completely evil regime.
He despised public life. So he dedicated himself to science – to young scientists – and set up the Center for Theoretical Studies (CTS) with Ivan Chvatik – another great dissident in his own right.
His brother Vaclav Havel would become the first non-Communist president of Czechoslovakia.
Ivan M. Havel was the recipient of the 20th Hanno R. Ellenbogen Citizenship Award along with Ivan Chvatik in 2019. A joint Award given to both him, and for Germany – Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the former Foreign Minister, and Markus Meckel, the former priest-become-politician and the last – and only – democratic Foreign Minister of East Germany.
“When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark
Walk on, through the wind
Walk on, through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone”
I will – we will – always stand with you Ivan – and of course Daša too.
Prof. Marc S. Ellenbogen,
President, The Prague Society,
Chair, The Global Panel Foundation
Member, National Advisory Board, U.S. Democratic Party (2004 – 2010)