Obituary Heinrich Pfusterschmid-Hardtenstein

Heinrich Alpbach

6 May, 2024


We mourn the loss of Heinrich Pfusterschmid-Hardtenstein (1927 – 2024).

The European Forum Alpbach mourns the loss of its former president and long-time honorary president Heinrich Pfusterschmid-Hardtenstein. The committed European and dedicated diplomat died on 6 May 2024.

The Austrian doctor (jurisprudence) was the European Forum Alpbach’s president from 1992 to 2000 and has served as our honorary president ever since. In 1947 he came to Alpbach as a student for the first time – by foot, like many of his peers then. He soon became the leader of the Forum’s Alumni Club in Styria. Pfusterschmid-Hardtenstein later was the director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, he worked at the Austrian Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the field of European integration and negotiated the treaty chapter on steel between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Community.

His loyalty to the Forum and his active engagement in the European cause made him the ideal successor to Otto Molden; the EFA founding father affectionately used to call him “Heini”. During Heinrich Pfusterschmid-Hardtenstein’s presidency, the Congress Centrum Alpbach, widely known today as the EFA main-stage, was built. He also initiated the so-called “Summer School Weeks” – the precursor of today’s Alpbach Seminars. Also, Pfusterschmid-Hardtenstein has been awarded with the European Forum Alpbach Badge of Honour in 1949.

Heinrich Pfusterschmid-Hardtenstein was editor and co-author of the following EFA collective reports:

  • Decision for Europe – Consciousness and Reality (Entscheidung für Europa – Bewusstsein und Realität, 1992)
  • What is Being Hunan? - Shifting Conceptions of Humanity (Was ist der Mensch? – Menschenbilder im Wandel, 1993)
  • Time and Truth (Zeit und Wahrheit, 1994)  
  • The Whole and its Pieces (Das Ganze und seine Teile, 1995)
  • The Normal and the Pathological – What is Healthy? (Das Normale und das Pathologische – Was ist gesund? 1996)  
  • Why Knowledge? Heritage and Future of Education (Wissen wozu? Erbe und Zukunft der Erziehung, 1997)  
  • The Disrupted Society (Die zerrissene Gesellschaft, 1998)
  • Matter, Mind and Consciousness (Materie, Geist und Bewusstsein, 1999)  

The boards and the team of the European Forum Alpbach honour Heinrich Pfusterschmid-Hardtenstein’s legacy and are going to continue in the spirit of his achievements. Our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends and relatives. We bid farewell to a memorable Alpbach personality!