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Apr 2003 Journal

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Obituary - Helmut Rothenberg

A founder member of the AJR, Helmut Rothenberg believed strongly in making way for new people to come forward and play their part.

A member of the Executive (now Management) Committee from 1983, he promoted a younger generation of honorary officers and members, sponsoring Andrew Kaufman, son of a prominent AJR member, and his own son David for election to the Management Committee, when he stepped down in 1988. Andrew advanced to become AJR Chairman and David Vice-chairman in 1996. He similarly encouraged Frank Harding, son of another old AJR family, on to the AJR Charitable Trust in 1994.

He took a keen interest in the AJR’s work from early days, when it dealt with naturalisation and restitution, to today’s concern for the elderly. He helped push through the building of the Day Centre, which opened in 1987.

Running throughout were problems of physical and spiritual welfare for those who could not readjust. Helmut helped quietly and generously. He was a fount of advice on personal financial matters and known as the confidant of a wide section of the community.

Founding a successful accountancy practice in 1945 together with Bernard Blick, he built Blick Rothenberg into a leading independent firm and went into business partnerships with his brother Henry and others. He was known for his kindness, courtesy, optimism, common sense and discretion.

Born in Halberstadt and brought up in Frankfurt, Helmut came to Britain in 1933 as a school-leaver of 18, the forerunner of his family. With his late wife, Annema, whom he married in 1945, he hosted numerous social gatherings as a bon viveur, enjoying good food, wine and company. At the heart of his wide circle of friends was his family of five children.

His special love was music and his passion was opera, including Glyndebourne, of which he was a generous patron. He also funded educational projects for Mencap, the charity for people with learning disability. His involvement was recognised with an OBE appointment in the New Year Honours List of December 1990.

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