Lord Weidenfeld (1919-2016)
George Weidenfeld, Lord Weidenfeld of Chelsea GBE, was a distinguished publisher and philanthropist. Born in 1919 in Vienna, Austria, George read law at the University of Vienna as well as attending the Consular Academy, a Diplomatic College where he learned several languages.
In the summer of 1938, after his father had been arrested, Weidenfeld travelled to the UK where he was initially supported by Quakers who also managed to secure entry for his parents before the outbreak of war.
Lord Weidenfeld began his career as a political journalist with the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). He later established a publishing house, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, which published many outstanding fiction and non-fiction titles, including Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita and General de Gaulle’s memoirs.
In his capacity as a philanthropist, Lord Weidenfeld was equally active and served as a Trustee on the board of various educational and cultural institutions including the Royal Opera House, the National Portrait Gallery and was Joint Chair of the Advisory Board of the Blavatnik School of Government.
Lord Weidenfeld kept his intellectual curiosity throughout his life and was passionate about the power of education. It was this deep-seated commitment to learning that inspired the foundation of both Humanitas and the Weidenfeld Scholarships and Leadership Programme. He was also a firm believer in building bridges with a huge capacity for developing friendships and contacts across the world. He was also continuously active, describing himself as ‘future oriented’ and always developing new projects.
The older I am, the more I think of the future. I can’t afford to sit back because I won’t be there.
Lord Weidenfeld led an extraordinary and accomplished life of which the Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Trust is just one of many of his legacies.