Matthias

In the morning of 30 January, our dear friend and longtime brother Matthias Achenbach passed away in his room at Mahalakshmi Home, ending a year-long process with cancer metastases in lungs and brain. He had just celebrated his 74th birthday a good week ago with all his close friends attending.

Having completed his studies in Physics and Pedagogy at Frankfurt’s Main University, Matthias started out as an electro-mechanic in Frankfurt to then pretty soon create his own ‘Achenbach Sprachlehranlagen’ company which manufactured language laboratories for Lufthansa, Bosch, Siemens etc.

In his own words: “Very early I developed a fetish for all things technical and I liked to play guitar and double-bass and joined a pop-band and later a jazz-band, where I fell in love with the singer and she became my first wife. Then I became a private and commercial pilot, and started my first own company producing language-laboratories.
In 1977, when I had just become 30 years of age, I travelled for the first time to India with a German jazz band (Barrelhouse Jazzband from Frankfurt – they still play!). I very much liked it there and inquired how one could live there. We were playing for the German Cultural Institutes and it happened just then, that they needed a new Regional Engineer for South Asia. I immediately applied for the job and by end 1977 I was posted to New Delhi with the Goethe Institute (Max Mueller Bhavan) for the next 5 years.”

While stationed in Delhi, Matthias with his (second) wife Marusch got to know about Auroville and at times Aurovilians would stay in their house. The result was that the pair joined Auroville on 28 February 1984, and soon Matthias gravitated towards Aurelec where computers were made. Having worked there several years, he formed his own ‘Altecs Energy Systems’, which produced solar-charge-controllers, PL-lamps and inverters enabling more than 100 totally self-sufficient solar houses in Auroville. The unit manufactured its own Inverters from 80VA to 5kVA and installed solar-pumps in and around Auroville. For this, he thoroughly taught and trained a large team of young aspiring Tamils who still see him as their guru. On top of that, Matthias built the multi-storey Altecs building in Auroshilpam where he lived with Dodo, as well as the Kailash Youth complex on the Crown Road. He later moved to Hope.

Naturally, being the open, good willing and authentic person he was, Matthias has been approached till the very end for his knowledge and expertise in electronic and other matters, and which he always readily shared. In the beginning of 2020 his physical problems started, and after a first operation he quietly moved to Mahalakshmi Home where he was warmly received. Very often surrounded by close friends, with whom he had good communications and understanding and who helped him prepare for this challenging phase of his life, he was clear-headed, ready and faithful to go.

Thank you for having been with us, Matthias, you definitely left a footprint and will so often be remembered. Our warmest condolences go out to Marusch, Dodo and Ingrida, as well as to his sister and brothers in Germany, and all his other close friends. He’s now in the Light.

OM~

Peter Kuhrt / Stream

This is to inform the community that our old friend and pioneer-brother Peter Kuhrt  – also known as Stream –  passed away on 28 January in a Munich hospital due to heart failure. He was 76.

Peter came to Auroville with the Caravan of 1969, together with Michel Klostermann, Christl, Joachim and Dorothee Hach. The group of Munich friends had read about the inauguration of Auroville in a German magazine and decided then and there to come. They had written to the Sri Aurobindo Society but never received an answer, so they just started off in an old VW bus, driving overland for 6 weeks and reaching Pondy in November 1969. In due time the group was assigned some accommodation in Auroville’s Aspiration.

Originally born in East-Prussia, Peter had grown up and studied in Germany. In Auroville he stayed for quite a few years in Aspiration, doing garden work, working at the then AuroPolyester unit, and growing more into his passion of painting. Later on, he lived for some time in the Pump House and in Existence (naming it ‘Edge of Existence’).

Residents who know him from that time remember him as a quiet, interiorised person, very gentle and kind-hearted. They observed that the intensity of his inner life came through in his art, and that he, as an artist, saw himself in a state of transition, without thinking to have “already arrived”. He considered such thinking as the greatest danger to creativity, to the gift of his life which he so abundantly had received with great gratitude. That he took on the name ‘Stream’ may have to do with this transitory stance.

After some ten years he left, feeling unsupported and insecure, realising that Auroville at that stage was not a place for artists. Friends who knew him in his later years in Germany, tell us that he lived his life as an artist to the bone – no cell phone and internet, utmost simplicity and only concerned with painting – which was his yoga. A strong yoga which carried him throughout. He was a true and faithful soul and Aurovilian until his last breath.

OM~

Martin Sobieroj

In the afternoon of Sunday 2 February, our German friend and brother Martin Sobieroj passed away in his room at Arka with some of his friends at his side. He was 76 and had been suffering from pancreatic cancer. Martin was ready to go and had opted to stay away from heavy treatment and follow the natural course of the disease, a choice which he -admirably- adhered to apart from accepting some pain plasters at the very end.

Being a searcher from young age onwards, Martin already came to Auroville in 77 but it became clear that for him it was not the right time, or possibly not the right motivation. When he returned 15 years later with the sincere intent to further his spiritual development here, he very soon got in contact with Gangalakshmi with whom he started working at L’Agenda de Mère in Aspiration and became Aurovilian in ‘94. When the House of Mother’s Agenda (HOMA) moved to Savitri Bhavan in 2006, he continued his non-stop research and information work such as answering questions from Aurovilians pertaining to Sri Aurobindo’s and Mother’s work, making indexes and compilations of their texts whenever needed, preparing with Gangalakshmi the HOMA pages for News&Notes and so on, always in a spirit of collaboration and giving.

Apart from writing several texts on Auroville’s Integral Yoga and context, and regularly participating in discussions on Auronet, Martin also wrote the published book ‘Der Stern des Abgrundes: das Medium Adolf Hitler im Lichte Sri Aurobindo und Der Mutter (‘The star of the abyss: the medium Adolf Hitler in the light of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’), a collection of statements from the Mother and Sri Aurobindo on the mediumistic nature of Hitler for which Martin, by widely researching German literature of the time, documented convincing confirmations. The book gives a good overview of the occult Hitler phenomenon largely ignored by historians.

Thanking him for having been a reference point for many, we pray that purification and rejuvenation be his share in the Light.


For an interesting overview of his life, in his own words:
https://youtu.be/taQYIowP6tY


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From Louise:

I met Martin only a handful of times while in the company of Auroculture. It was he who sparked my interest to read Mother’s Agenda, having told me he read a couple of pages every day!

Thank you Martin, you enriched my life!

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From Brigitta Sobieroj:

My brother Martin, who is 1 year older than me, spent a childhood in poverty with my mother and I, during 12 years after the second world war. My grandmother idolized Martin. He spent every afternoon with her. Martin was an overweight and lonely boy. His classmates teased him. He didn’t play with them but prefered reading Greek Legends.In 1955 Adenauer negotiated with Bulganin in Moscow so that the last German prisoners of war could go home. Our father was among these last German prisoners. Then our family life changed. Martin separated from his grandmother and lived again in the family home. Martin became slim. Then 3 young brothers were born into our family – Michael, Florian and Wolfgang. Martin attended a boarding school in another town and successfully completed his education there. He then went to university. Michael, Florian and Wolfgang loved their older brother, his incense sticks, and his glowing eyes when he spoke about Sri Aurobindo. His grandmother always waited for him, for his return from Auroville. With 103 years, she could wait no longer. Dear Martin, rest in peace.


Der Stern des Abgrundes: das Medium Adolf Hitler im
Lichte Sri Aurobindo und Der Mutter

by Martin Sobieroj (Satparam)

A collection of statements from the Mother and Sri Aurobindo on the Mediumistic nature of Hitler. This book gives a good overview of the occult Hitler phenomenon largely ignored by historians.

Published by: Lulu, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Language: German
Pages: 463

PDF Book: der_stern_des_abgrund

Ingo H.W. Torp

In the morning of Tuesday 7 January 2020, our good friend and brother Ingo H.W. Torp left his body at the age of 77 in Santé, after staying two days in the ICU in PIMS. Ingo had a weakened body due to a chronic heart condition, and succumbed to pneumonia gone septic. Some of his friends were with him during the time of transition.

Born in Riga, Latvia, Ingo grew up Germany. Being a teacher, and hearing about Auroville’s educational system, he came first to Auroville in 1976. As there were no schools functioning yet at the time, he stayed and worked in Forecomers and Success and got interested in homeopathy. During the turmoil that plagued AV those days, Ingo moved to New Community in Certitude to eventually leave in 1984. He got married and worked in Hamburg as a school teacher while becoming a Heilpraktiker and deepening his knowledge of homeopathy. In 1996 he founded, along with others, the SdH-Hamburg, a school of homeopathy where he worked as lecturer and teacher. He also worked as archivist at the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR). In 2009 he returned to Auroville where he lived in the Needam premises in Certitude.

Aurovilians got to know him as a concerned and apt homeopath, as member of the Residents’ Service team, as a mouth organ player ready to jive with groups in concerts, and as an actor in various theatre plays. Last month, already in weakened condition, he insisted on still playing the burglar role in ‘Noises on, Noises off’.

Ingo’s body was taken to the Farewell Centre on the Crown Road, where friends could bid a last farewell. In the afternoon of Sunday 12 January, the burial took place at Auroville’s burial grounds, with his two sons from Germany and friends attending.

Farewell, Ingo. Thank you for having come back and for again sharing your energies with Mother’s city. May you rest in peace.

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From Peter Conradi:

After hearing about my great-uncle Ingo’s death last night, I’m trying to learn more about his recent years in Auroville. His last sign of life came to me from May 1, 2019 when he was in Hamburg, as so often. For many years I met my great-uncle there earlier and developed a trusting relationship with him, which has been lost for about 10 years. I still see with great admiration how much he committed himself to Auroville as a definite life’s work, and I wish the community Auroville all the best!

Heinrich K Weihrauch

On Wednesday evening, December 25th 2019, our friend and brother Heinrich K Weihrauch peacefully passed away in his Auromodèle home at the age of 81. He had suffered a number of strokes since 2010.

Born in Heidelberg, Germany, Heinrich met his future wife Chantal (Shanta) Gowa in 1980 in France and, having lived in Germany for some 10 years, they came to India in ’91. Heinrich became Aurovilian in ’96. Being a qualified allopathic physician, he later became a homeopath and naturopath as well. Moreover, he was a fervent pianist and cello player, giving many public performances over the years. His last public performance was just around a year ago in Cripa and he was working on the next.

With his open and friendly personality, Auroville will remember him with love, and with gratitude for sharing moments of his fine, musical joy with us all.

Having laid in Auroville’s Farewell Centre for a last viewing and visit, Heinrich’s remains were cremated in the afternoon of Sunday, 29 December, at the Auroville cremation grounds with friends and family attending.

Our warmest condolences go out to his wife Shanta, son Coriolan, and son Bernhard and brother Manfred (the latter two in Europe) and his grandchildren.


Ingrid Tayde

Born on 8.9.1943 in Hoehr-Grenzhausen, Germany, Ingrid studied music and became a violinist in the Frankfurt Opera Orchestra.

Ingrid visited the Sri Aurobindo Ashram for the first time in 1972. During one of her following visits, she met her future husband Prabhakar Tayde, architect in the then ‘Aurofuture’ architects office. Prabhakar introduced her to Aurovilian Dorothee Hach, as the latter played the flute and during the weeks Ingrid was here they played together. Ingrid also gave a violin performance at the Last School amphitheatre and in the Ashram Hall of Harmony.

She got married to Prabhakar in March 1975, with whom she had a daughter, Mandala.

During all the subsequent years, Ingrid remained in contact with Dorothee, and she and Mandala visited Auroville several times. For many years she was a member of AVI Germany.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Ingrid experienced the first symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis and about a year later she had to give up her career as a musician and her position as violinist in the Frankfurt Opera Orchestra.

She then wanted to come to Auroville permanently, but because of her deteriorating health she could never apply to become Newcomer. She built a house on the Utility Road, opp. Sangamam and named it ‘Inner Peace’. Here she lived with some companions who faithfully looked after her wellbeing till she peacefully passed away on the 19th of this month after being admitted in PIMS for only one day.

From the early 1970s Ingrid was deeply influenced by Sri Aurobindo’s and The Mother’s Yoga and she tried to live the many years of her debilitating illness in Their light.

Ursula (Loose Tuschkewitz)

Ursula, Aspiration Program September 2012

In the early morning of 15 July, our Aurovilian sister and friend Ursula (Loose Tuschkewitz) of Gratitude passed away in PIMS at the age of 69. She had suffered from cancer (lymphoma) affecting her spine. After a short stay at PIMS, treatment in Chennai during March of this year could not prevent progression of paralysis of the legs while cancer progressed. She returned to PIMS, where additionally she got several minor strokes.

Ursula joined us from Germany in 2011 and, having worked as an accountant for a large German carmaker, she was readily welcomed to look after financial matters here in Auroville, half time for City Services, half time for Varuna. Though she could be at times somewhat strict, friends and colleagues much appreciated her often quaint German use of the English language, her great sense of humor, friendly goodwill and hard-working stance in life.

Ursula lived in a small, completely open house in the Gratitude community of which she had grown very fond, and where she will be deeply missed. Cats were another love of hers: she was an internationally well-respected juror for pedigree cats and traveled once a year abroad to attend international cat shows in that capacity.

As one of her doctors mentioned, she was a model of a life-oriented and affirming patient throughout the process.

Now she is free. Auroville’s love and prayers accompany her to the Light.

Ursula’s remains were brought to the Farewell center where friends could bid her goodbye. The cremation took place at Auroville’s mandapam in the afternoon of Tuesday 16 July where friends and colleagues honoured her with flowers and incense, and quietly stood by.

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From Holger Vonhof (Ursula’s cousin):

Last time I met her was in September 18 when she visited Germany. She wanted to see my father, her uncle, who was very ill at that time. When she left, she gave him the instruction to watch out for his health so that she could meet him again this year. Now they have met earlier than both of them thought. Rest in peace.


Theodora & Eckhard

In Ekhard’s own words, ” It has been a great previledge for Theodora who has read The Auroville Charter during the inauguration of Auroville. In 1959, both of us (Theodora and Ekhard) met the Mother. We read the Mother’s dream then and wondering if that would even be possible. Later during the inauguration of Auroville, we were here and Theodora was proposed by the Mother to read the German Charter. In Champaklal’s book, German couple ‘Ekhart and wife’ was noted. In Auroville just like the Matrimandir, Savitri Bhavan has to come up as another centre of spiritual confluence and become well known to everyone. I was much impressed on seeing the SEAS( Souls Encounter with Auroville’s Soul ) event in Matrimandir which has brought out a great Inspiration. Most beautiful Savitri. Tremendous Aspiration through that(Savitri). If Aurovilians can dive into the ocean of Savitri, growth and development will start. Mona Sarkar and Manoj the trustee has expressed the same thing ” My dear naughty boy please read Savitri”. I am trying a similar experiment in Germany ‘Inventor’s Workshop’. Getting the atmosphere of Savitri all around the world is one of my wishes.”

Daniel Wilms

August Timmermans narrates his experience with Daniel, “Daniel Wilms was part of my special circle of friends that comprised of John Boonen, from Newlands, and Alan Klaas, from the Matrimandir Nursery.

We could enter deep conversations and share some great laughter. Daniel was the manager of the Nursery when I asked him if I could join, in 1981. Narad had left the Nursery responsibility in Daniel’s hands, and fortunately he could use an extra hand. Daniel was dedicated to his work from the perspective of yoga and put all his heart into it. Because of that, he had an excellent connection with the Tamil workers, who all liked him. What was not to like about him?, he was spirited, open-minded, had a great sense of humor, was passionate, and a true yogi, inspite of all the personal challenges in his life. It was always a joy being and working with him.

After he had left Auroville, we miraculously discovered that we had chosen the same country to work in, Thailand, where I lived in Bangkok, and he with his wife Chika and daughter Johanna in Chiang Mai. Daniel was from Germany, and died in 2003.”

Ursula

our good friend and long-term sister Ursula Mack quietly left her body at the age of 91, surrounded by friends in her Samasti house after a long period of gradual and peaceful withdrawal.

Ursula, who hailed from Germany and at a later stage mainly lived and worked in Switzerland and Italy, has been visiting the Ashram and Auroville since the very early years during which she met the Mother. In Germany she was an active member of the AVI team there (for instance by hosting in 1983 the AVI meeting in her brother’s house in Laubach). Immediately after retirement Ursula came to Auroville, in 1990, where she became the much appreciated, very first professional resident physiotherapist helping Aurovilians wherever she could. She became instrumental in the building of Pitanga and Quiet healing centre, and also in her Samasti house people were welcome when in need for treatment, advice or just a chat.

Ursula’s friendly and loving nature was apparent till the end. After a second stroke, she became bedridden and quite indrawn but even while going through increasingly profound physical crises; she always managed to convey a steady, faithful and grateful disposition, evoking deep contact and love in the ones caring for her.

For years, around this time, Ursula ordered some hundred Christmas Stollen-breads baked by the Auroville Bakery as per her German recipe, which she personally delivered by taxi to her friends – now she has gone… Thank you for everything, dear Ursula, our love and prayers accompany you on the way to the Light.