Fred C. Bruhns Memorial Award



Summary

A working knowledge of Arabic is required. Fred C. Bruhns worked with refugees and USAid in Austria, Lebanon, Jerusalem, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iran, Germany, Greece and Gabon from 1948 through 1964. He came to the University of Pittsburgh to complete his Ph.D. and joined the faculty of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

Eligibility

Graduate

Amount

$4000

Country/Region

MIDDLE EAST

Honor/Memoriam

For fifteen years, Fred C. Bruhns worked with refugees and USAid in Austria, Lebanon, Jerusalem, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iran, Germany, Greece, and Gabon from 1948 through 1964. He came to the University of Pittsburgh to complete his Ph.D. and joined the faculty of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

Details

A working knowledge of Arabic is required.

FRED CHARLES BRUHNS

 

Fred Bruhns Internment Camp 1940

Bruhns (right) in French internment camp, Les Milles, 1940

Fred C. Bruhns, professor emeritus at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), died on March 20, 2006, after a brief illness.  He was 90.

Fred Bruhns came to Pitt in 1965 to complete his Ph.D. and joined the faculty at GSPIA, where he taught comparative administration and administrative theory.  He also held a master’s degree in sociology from Stanford University, and an undergraduate degree from Ohio State University.  He retired as professor emeritus in 1985.

Colleague and friend Joseph Eaton, also an emeritus professor at GSPIA, said that while the German-born Bruhns rarely talked about the multiple dimensions of his life, he had pursued four distinct careers: military, diplomatic, academic, and, after retirement from Pitt, investment brokering.
Following World War II, Bruhns had widespread and varying diplomatic experience with international refugee and U.S. governmental organizations.  Between 1948 and 1964, he served in Austria with the International Refugee Organization, resettling European refugees; in Lebanon and Jordan as a Ford Foundation scholar, conducting research on Palestinian refugee attitudes, and in South Vietnam, resettling North Vietnamese refugees.  In those years he also served stints in Cambodia, Iran and Gabon under the auspices of the United States Agency for International Development and in Germany and Greece as a delegate of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In 1961 Bruhns was honored with the Royal Order of the Phoenix for service to the Greek government.
Bruhns’ work with refugees was foreshadowed by his own early life, friends said.

In a 2001 interview published in the Center for West European Studies newsletter, Bruhns discussed his formative years.  “On January 30, 1933, when Hitler came to power I was 17 years old,” said Bruhns, whose given name was Friedrich Karl Otto Bruhns.  “I was opposed to Hitler and I joined the German resistance,” a group that included social democrats, members of religious groups and leftists, among others, he said.
“We published ‘illegal things’ since Hitler immediately forbade all publications not expressing Nazi ideology.  I was arrested and became a political prisoner,” sentenced to two years for preparation for high treason, he said.  Upon his discharge from prison in 1938, he no longer had a passport.  He visited Switzerland, where he discovered that its government was unwilling to recognize his political refugee status.  Bruhns then crossed the Swiss border into France illegally, and enrolled at the University of Grenoble.  But after the German invasion of France in 1939, Bruhns again was arrested and interned in a series of refugee camps. By the time he obtained a United States visa to attend Ohio State in 1941, he had served more than three years as a political prisoner.  After arriving in America, he changed his name to Fred Charles Bruhns.

Following the Pearl Harbor attack, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and earned a battlefield commission as a second lieutenant in military intelligence for his role in interrogating German prisoners.  In 1946, Bruhns married E. Maxine Moose Bruhns and completed his degree at Ohio State, where the couple had met.
 
The couple has funded a number of international scholarships and other programs at the University of Pittsburgh totaling more than $2 million in gifts.  A portion of the Bruhns’ donations have gone to Pitt’s European Union Center of Excellence and the Nationality Rooms Program.