In Memory of Alfred "Freddy" Diamant / September 25, 1917 - May 11, 2012
Alfred (Freddy) Diamant was born on September 25, 1917, in Vienna, Austria, to a Slovakian Jewish merchant family. He was the only child of Ignatz Diamant and Julia Herzog Diamant, and the younger
half-brother of Valerie and Oscar. Freddy was a man of vision who worked towards a better, more just world. His long, eventful life was inspired by his passion for classical music, the printed word, and political science, and by his strong devotion to his family, friends, and students.
Freddy was a descendent of the Herzog family of Vrbové and the Diamant family of Dolná Krupá in Slovakia. Most of his family in Vienna and Slovakia perished in the Holocaust, a fate that he escaped through immigration to the USA. However, Freddy's long life was blessed with a devoted wife, Ann; two children, Alice and Steve; their spouses, Pete and Tasoula; five grandchildren, Paige, Colin, Christopher, Gordon, and Alexis; and a great many friends.
Growing up in Vienna during the rise of Nazism, Freddy dreamed of teaching history, but was forbidden to do so by
discriminatory laws. He entered the business world of his family, studying textile production and managing a mill in Beška, Yugoslavia. Returning to Vienna, he worked on a business administration degree until, with the Anschluss, Jews were abruptly expelled from universities. When Nazi persecutory practices escalated into the terrible events of Kristallnacht, he miraculously managed to survive. In 1940 he immigrated to the USA.
Freddy worked at Diamond Textile Mills in Taunton, Massachusetts, until volunteering for the US Army. He was assigned to Headquarters Company at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, where, in 1942, he met Ann Redmon, the civilian property clerk in the Quartermaster's Supply Office. Ann and Freddy quickly found that they shared many interests, including world events and the arts, and especially, a passion for classical music and each other. They were married March 18, 1943, at Irvington Methodist Church in Indianapolis. Their son, Steven Roy, was born in 1944 while Freddy was overseas. Their family was completed with the birth of their daughter, Alice Lillian, in 1952.
During WWII, Freddy was a lieutenant in the Military
Intelligence Service and a parachutist in the 82nd Airborne Division. During the Normandy invasion, he was shot and captured. Miraculously, he survived, but he sustained a lumbar fracture from a bullet that remained in his body for the rest of his days.
After retiring from the army, Freddy went on to achieve his dream of an academic career. He received an AB summa cum laude in History and a Master's in Political Science from Indiana University, and a PhD in Political Science from Yale. His 40-year career in political science linked him to generations of students and researchers, and took him to academic institutions across Europe and the USA. He was a member of the Political Science Department at the University of Florida (1950–1960), at Haverford College (1960–1966), and at Indiana University (1967–1988).
His research interests took him across the USA and Europe, as he explored issues in public policy and workplace democracy, seeking to understand social relationships as manifested in political and social organizations. Freddy was devoted to helping others understand the world they live in - the role of social interactions and the effects of organizations in companies, governments, and the world. He maintained a vision of a social democracy that would result in a more peaceful, more just world.
Throughout his 40-year career, Freddy remained devoted to teaching excellence and to his students. He touched the lives of generations of students across the USA and Europe - conservatively estimated, 5,000+ undergraduates and 400+ graduate students. He maintained close ties with many long after graduation.
His passion for classical music sustained Freddy throughout his life. Growing up surrounded by the music and theater that were an essential part of Viennese culture, he attended performances at every opportunity - a custom he and Ann continued across the USA and Europe. He was especially fond of Wagner, Mahler, Bach, and Beethoven.
Freddy had a special affinity with the printed word. His daily fare included newspapers, giving rise to Ann's reflection - "he can't live unless he has sniffs of printer's ink every day." He particularly enjoyed his daily perusal of the New York Times and the Economist. He enjoyed a variety of book genres, and was fond of a good whodunit, especially PD James mysteries. In his later years, as his glaucoma worsened, Freddy continued to enjoy the written word through recorded books and his readers, a series of intelligent men and women who read to him daily.
The printed word helped form bonds that Freddy shared with family, friends, and colleagues. While in the US Army, he began clipping news articles to post or pass on, a custom he continued all his life. Both the printed word and classical music were important during his courtship and marriage to Ann, forming a basis for discussion and entertainments. Likewise in their family life, their devotion to classical music and literature expanded to enrich the lives of their children and later, their grandchildren.
Freddy's spirituality, which was initially expressed in the Jewish faith of his family, grew to embrace Ann's Protestant beliefs. Over the years, he was active in campus ministry at the University of Florida, Haverford College, and Indiana University. He was a devoted member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Bloomington, Indiana, and much loved and respected by his fellow parishioners.
After retirement in 1988, Freddy and Ann resided at Meadowood Retirement
Community in Bloomington, Indiana. They enjoyed visits to Treasure Cay in the Bahamas and wrote their memoirs. Ann's death on February 27, 2003, and his failing sight left Freddy with new challenges. However, classical music, the written word, and political science continued to enrich his days, as did his family and many friends. He participated in turning the memoirs that he and Ann had penned into a published book, Worlds Apart, Worlds United, A European-American Story: The Memoirs of Ann and Alfred Diamant. http://www.amazon.com/Worlds-Apart-United-European-American-Memoirs/dp/1449003761
Freddy died on May 11, 2012 in Bloomington, Indiana. His rich full life spanned almost a century, during which he witnessed evolutions and revolutions that resulted in social and cultural changes, including those that seeped through Vienna during the rise of Nazism, to sweep across Europe and, eventually, across the world during WWII, and those that swept through the USA during the Viet Nam War years. He witnessed events that became history and affected political institutions and people in significant ways.
Freddy's long, eventful life was inspired and sustained by his vision of a better, more just society. He will be remembered for his humor, compassion, and intelligent perseverance, and for his passion for classical music, the printed word, and political science. He will be missed by his loving family and friends, and by generations of students and colleagues, all of whom rejoice that he touched their lives and who celebrate the truly remarkable man that was Freddy Diamant.
Memorial services will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday May 19, 2012 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Bloomington, IN. Inurnment will follow at the Trinity Episcopal Church Columbarium. A Reception will follow after services at the church.
Memorial contributions may be made to the League of Women Voters, P.O. Box 5592, Bloomington, IN 47407, The United States Holocaust Memorial Fund, 100 Raoul Wallenburg Place, SW, Washington D.C. 20024, Trinity Episcopal Church Endowment Fund, 111 S. Grant St., Bloomington, IN 47408 or the charity of one's choice. Contribution acknowledgments should be sent to Alice Diamant, P.O. Box 781, Castroville, TX 78009.