Obit to the ISHR Founder, Mr. Ivan Agruzov

Ivan I. Agruzov, the founder of the International Society for Human Rights/ISHR, died on February 01, 2012

Dear Friends,

we have the very sad obligation of letting you know that the founder of our organisation, Mr. Ivan I. Agruzov, has passed away at the age of 87 last night.

The International Society for Human Rights has lost the person that once had created our civil initiative to stand up against the violation of human rights. By doing so, he made totalitarianism his enemy and its thousands of victims his friends. He went through many years of hard struggle, constant campaigns of defamation and observation by the soviet KGB and Stasi, GDR's infamous secret service police.

His life began in 1924 in a small town near the border to the region of St. Petersburg where his youth came to an early end when he was subjected to forced labour in Estonia and Germany in World War II. He saw the total neglect of human dignity and experienced the power of even the smallest efforts of humanity in sheer desperate situation. After the war, he decided to stay in Germany where he became deeply rooted in the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Cold War and his great admiration for those who dared to resist the totalitarian dictatorship made him gathering a few friends in 1971 for a protest demanding freedom for political prisoners in the former soviet Gulag system. This was the starting point of founding a human rights organization known as  the International Society for Human Rights today with its Sections and Groups in almost 40 countries on every continent. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, his work was highly recognized through numerous decorations of merit but also through witnessing the foundation of ISHR branches in Russia and the Ukraine.

Being the first Secretary General, Mr. Agruzov promoted the international character of our society. He wanted to gather the very few friends everywhere in the world who start the civil initiative for those oppressed under totalitarian rule. Even after his retirement in 1995 he kept very close contact to those responsible for ISHR-matters. We highly benefited from his knowledgeable advice and inspiration.

With great thankfulness, love and respect we have to take our leave of Mr Ivan Agruzov and will try to continue our work for the promotion of Human Rights in the spirit he created.

Alexander v. Bischoffshausen, ISHR President
Vu Quoc Dung, ISHR Secretary General

Frankfurt, February 1, 2012

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