The letter kills but the spirit gives life In the 1920s and 1930s when extreme nationalism was rife in Europe Robert Bosch was committed to promoting reconciliation between peoples His dedication was rooted in his experience during World War I He was one of the founders of the German Federation for the League of Nations which sought to establish a world organization to preserve peace Robert Bosch became chairman of the German Society for the Promotion of the First European Unification Movement the Paneuropean Union He joined the Franco German Society and promoted the Carl Schurz Vereinigung for German American understanding The reconciliation between the then sworn enemies Germany and France was particularly close to his heart He saw this as the key to peace and a united Europe which he believed was only conceiv able within the framework of a democratic system Pan Europe in turn was to be the starting point for establishing an understanding with other continents It was difficult for Robert Bosch to witness the Nazis shatter any attempt at international reconcilia tion but he remained hopeful for a better future in which his ideas would prevail The assets he left behind were meant to contribute to this mission In his bequest the asset management guidelines for the Vermögensverwal tung Bosch GmbH of July 19 1935 he instructed that his wealth should be used to promote health educa tion training the advancement of the gifted reconciliation between peoples and the like He did not formulate specific directives Those responsible were to have a free hand in fulfilling his mission Bosch obliged them to continuously rethink and if necessary realign the Foundation s work The letter kills but the spirit gives life It is therefore necessary to constantly adapt these guidelines to changes as they take place The Robert Bosch Stiftung which emerged from the Vermögens verwaltung Bosch GmbH has been fulfilling this mission for 55 years During this period of time the Board of Trustees and the Board of Manage ment have repeatedly adapted the Foundation s concept of support to changes keeping in line with Robert Bosch s legacy Background 21THE MAGAZINE 2 19 Robert Bosch 1861 1942 was active in areas such as education science and health Influenced by the experience of World War I he also committed himself to international understanding he saw this as the foun dation for peace This commitment is still the basis and a source of guidance for the international work of the Robert Bosch Stiftung TEXT Johannes Bähr ILLUSTRATION Studio Pong

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