Alfred Freddy "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 halfbrother 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 dis-criminatory 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 Intelli-gence 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 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 Mead-owood Retirement Community in Bloomington, Indiana. They en-joyed 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.
Online condolences may be made to the family at www.DayFuneralServices.com
- Holy Eucharist Rite II and Inurnment Saturday, May 19, 2012
Alfred Freddy "Freddy" Diamant
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April 27, 2013
In his course, Politics of the Holocaust (the unofficial title was Theory and Practice of Hell), Freddy shared how his family was decimated by the Holocaust. In light of that, I once asked him if he was ever tempted to kill every German soldier he could, even after surrender. He said that he had in fact thought about it, but he decided: "If you have to become a dragon to fight a dragon, why bother to fight the dragon?" I'll never forget those words.
January 17, 2013
I am an Austrian historian who is currently researching about Alfred Diamant's wartime biography. I never met Mr. Diamant personally, but for me he was a remarkable man, who, though having lost so many beloved ones and having witnessed the hardships and the violence of the early 20th century, was a optimistic, productive, humorous and remarkable man.
Florian Traussnig, Kumberg/Austria
August 8, 2012
I am also from Vienna,related to the Diamant family. Alice Diament (Liesl) was by aunt and I visited her a few times in Sydney
She and Oskar came several times to visit us in the USA our commen ancestors were Sophie and Wilhelm Hartmann of Buno Check republic and Eisenstadt in Austria.
Fredl was a visitor when he studied in New Haven
His experience during WW 2 in the USA was extrodinary
I enjoyed is intellect by phone over the last years.
my concolences to his children and grandchildren
June 3, 2012
Freddy and my father had similar prewar histories and WWII combat experiences. My family and I met Freddy several years ago and very much enjoyed meeting him and talking about his service, his love of reading, and his political interests. He was a wonderful and admirable man/
May 17, 2012
Freddy was an inspiration to his colleagues here at the IU Student Advocates Office. He was an important figure in establishing the rapport and respect that our office enjoys on campus today. I very much enjoyed visiting with Freddy after he retired. I will miss his wonderful smile, his stories and learned much from his bright outlook on life. Sally Jones, Bloomington, IN
May 15, 2012
While I've only known Freddy for the last year or so, I became very attached to him through biweekly readings of the New York Times. I love this fella! I will miss him terribly! As he frequently would say to me when it was time for me to go, "The time has come", the walrus said, "to speak of many things: Of shoes, and ships, and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings..." He would always ask, "where do I know that from?" Thank you Freddy!
May 15, 2012
Dear Steve and Alice and Families,
Please accept my great sympathy on the loss of your beloved Father and Grandfather. My family and I knew both your Mother and Father as good neighbors on Montclair Avenue in Bloomington for many years. Then, after I retired from the Economics Department at IU, I served as a Student Advocate as did Freddy. He wrote an article describing the development of the Student Advocates Office which is still of great importance to that office. I enjoyed hearing stories of Freddy's participation in World War II, though of course he suffered much with the loss of his family in the holocaust. He and Ann were always interested in current topics and were influential in League of Women Voters affairs, among other organizations . Freddy will be long remembered at IU, in Bloomington, and in a much wider professional and personal circle of colleagues and friends.
May 14, 2012
Freddie was a delightful contributor to the Meadowood "German Table." His stories will remain with me forever. He was a true cosmopolitan, speaking several languages (except Hungarian, which his parents used to keep him from understanding). We were lucky to have him as long as we did. Auf Wiedersehen und Mazeltov, alter Zeitgenosse!
Tammy Jo Myers
May 14, 2012
"My thoughts have been with you and your family the past several days. I would like to express that it was both a privilege and an honor to have been with Freddy the past couple of months, I wish I had known him earlier. My thoughts will continue to be with you...God Bless."
Craig & Pam Wright
May 14, 2012
Our most sincere sympathy to the family.
We did not know the man, but it is quite apparant that he lived a very full and productive life.
May 14, 2012
My deepest sympathy to you. My son Mike Waddell was very close to Freddy, and I became very aware of his wonderful life -- as well as Ann's -- through their autobiography -- Worlds Apart, Worlds United. I wish that I had been privileged to know both of your parents personally, but at least I got a glimpse into the special-ness of them both by reading their book. May you have wonderful memories as time goes by.