In Memoriam - CISG Database

Albert H Kritzer
1928 – 2010
An untraditional presentation in memory of a great
entrepreneur, scholar, and humanitarian, who was an
irreplaceable “other father” and friend.
By Camilla Baasch Andersen
Keynote address at the “Global Challenges of International Sales Law”
conference, University of Florida Nov. 11-12, 2011
2008: Last time I gave a speech
about Albert Kritzer he was in the
room – and about to get a big
surprise! The 2008 presentation of
the Festschrift in honor of his 80th
Birthday on the Vienna Concert
Hall stage with Ulrich Schroeter.
That was SO FUN.
Today: a goodbye to my “other
father” who adopted me at 26.
My age of 26. My parents were
surprised, and frankly so was I.
He took that job very seriously,
and I miss him. While I thank the
organizers for this opportunity this speech is SO HARD.
Native of New York
College of William & Mary
Distinction, Cornell Law 1951
Called to the New York Bar
Judge Advocate, US Air Force
Donovan, Leisure, Newton &
Irvine Law
25 years in legal section of GE
International Contract Manual
Joined Pace in 1991
Pioneered and ran the CISGW3
Ensured various case
translation projects
Instrumental in the Vis Moot
and its Alumni association
Engineered the CISG Advisory
Al died at 82 “at the top of his
game”, leaving an astounding
legacy of accomplishments and
people whose lives he touched
profoundly – who was this amazing
man and what were his main
Living life to the fullest, to the very last.
3 ways of life from my other father,
adopter of grown-ups and lover of
hats, which remind us – in part – of
who he was and what he could
teach us:
What kind of a man would:
Spend their entire fortune financing
ideas like the CISG database, case
translations, and the CISG Advisory
Council? Work 80 hours a week for
one dollar a year for almost 20 years?
Sharing was his favorite thing:
Sharing wisdom, sharing joy, sharing
moments, sharing experiences, being
generous with time, money, insight,
and gifts… AND TRYING TO GET
Who buys a cashmere outfit for a baby?!
Ideas to give the rest of us vertigo!
Filled boxes in Schlechtriem’s garage
of “Al’s Ideas”, many realized.
Imagine a young law student
backpacking through Europe, writing
presidents (like Josip Tito!) to meet
them and chat about their
Imagine an Institute Leader who
contacts Queens and Presidents to
get them to award student prizes!
A keen mind, and a powerhouse of ideas!
Because: Where is the harm in
trying? Don’t ASK don’t GET – but
you have to think the thought before
you can ask!
The Al I knew was a man defined by
Not schmaltzy hallmark-love-stuff although there was room for that
too – but:
1) Love for what he did, love for
ideas, love for potential, love for
the law; sparking an intense
dedication in him and those inspired
by him. All that energy!!!
“Everyone has to fill their own cup”
2) Love for the arts, love for good
food and travel, love for humanity
and fun; sparking a pure joy in him,
which would make you want to be a
better person.
“Fae doe, fraende doe, en ting ved
jeg som aldrig doe: dommen over
doed mands minde…” from Danish
Legends of Viking Burials
[Enemies die, allies die, one thing I
know doth never die: our
judgement of our memories of
dead men]
My judgement? Al was an amazing
unlocker of human potential – his
own and that of others.
Grief is hard: I am working towards
saying with conviction that I am
more grateful for my years as Al’s
“other daughter” than I am angry
at having lost him…