He who has lived well knows how to die well. Death holds no horrors for him. It is simply the ultimate adventure of life. The death of Hans Sennholz on June 23, 2007, concluded a life of untold adventures. Born (February 3, 1922) in Germany during the hyperinflation soon after World War I, he experienced the Great Depression and the rise of Hitler’s National Socialism. In World War II, he lost his mother in an allied bombing raid on his hometown, and his father in a mining accident. His only brother, who served in the German army, did not return from Russia. He himself was drafted into the Luftwaffe and trained as a fighter pilot. He flew numerous missions in France, Russia, and North Africa and was decorated for bravery.
On one of his missions over Egypt, New Zealand artillery shot him down and took him prisoner. He was taken to South Africa, New Zealand, and finally to the United States where he spent the rest of the war in camps in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas. In American captivity, he enjoyed the care and support of several American relatives who had immigrated during the 1920s. Their financial support permitted him to study in correspondence with the University of Texas in Austin.
Released from captivity in 1946, Sennholz completed his education in Germany, earning a Master’s degree at Marburg University in 1948, and a doctorate at Cologne University in 1949. After a short career as a labor attorney in Cologne, he returned to the United States and continued his studies at New York University, earning a Ph.D. in economics and receiving the coveted Founders Day Award in 1955.
Sennholz began his teaching career at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., and continued at Grove City College in Grove City, Pa. In 37 years of teaching, he instructed some 10,000 students. At Grove City College, he also conducted a graduate program for International College in Los Angeles, conferring Master’s and Doctor’s degrees. During his vacations he went on lecture tours often flying his own plane and addressing audiences from coast to coast.
Upon retirement from Grove City College at the age of 70, Sennholz assumed the presidency of The Foundation for Economic Education in Irvington, New York. In just five years, he revived the defunct organization through economy and productivity. He celebrated its 50th anniversary with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as its festive speaker. He retired as President Emeritus at the age of 75. He continued to serve on the adjunct faculty of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
Sennholz was a prolific writer on economic, social, and political thought and issues. His writing career began with articles in the Cologne Rundschau in Germany. It continued with essays and articles in opinion journals throughout the English-speaking world. In more than 1,000 publications, including seventeen books and booklets, he covered nearly every aspect of contemporary thought. In retirement, he continued to publish on the Internet which circulated his work throughout the world. His web site counted more than 12 million international return visits.
Sennholz was the recipient of several honors. He was an Honorary Citizen of Lubbock, Texas, and of Houston, Texas; Honorary Colonel of New Mexico, Honorary Doctor of Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala; Honorary Doctor of Laws of Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri; and Honorary Doctor of Laws of Grove City College in Grove City, PA. He received the Gary G. Schlarbaum Award for Liberty, and was the recipient of a festschrift with contributions by 36 authors.
He is survived by Mary, his wife of 52 years; his son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Lyn; and two grandsons, Roland and Emil.