Hans Koning: Writer, historian dies at 85

Historians in the News

Writer Hans Koning has died at the age of 85 at his home [on April 13] in Easton, Connecticut after a short illness. The author of over 40 fiction and non-fiction books, he was also a prolific journalist, contributing for almost 60 years to many periodicals including the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, Harpers and The New Yorker.

Born in Amsterdam on July 12th 1921 to Elisabeth van Collem and Daniel Koningsberger, he was educated at the University of Amsterdam 1939-41, The University of Zurich 1941-43, and the Sorbonne in 1946. He was the grandson of the well-known Dutch poet Abraham van Collem.

Escaping occupied Holland with the Resistance (he was a wearer of the Dutch Resistance Cross), he was one of the youngest sergeants in the British Liberation Army, 7 Troop, 4 Commando, working as an interpreter during the allied occupation of Germany at the end of the war. His Major wrote of him, “The problems of occupation have been made much easier with the help of this NCO who not only knows the character and customs of the German people but has studied the academic approach to international affairs. Sgt ‘Hans’ as he is known to everyone in the battery has been a loyal and trustworthy member of the unit…his quiet sense of humor and his fundamentally serious mien have won him the friendship of officers and men alike”.

[Click here for the complete obituary.]

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