The Foreign Residents in the TRNC (TFR)
30 minutes with the Secretary
Interview with Heidemarie and Hartmut Blankenstein
By Ralph Kratzer
Hartmut, born in the former German province of Schlesien / Silesia (most parts belonging to Poland today), spent his school days in Thuringia, Mecklenburg, Berlin and Hamburg before he graduated from high school in Mönchengladbach. He studied law and economics in Cologne and Tübingen, became a lawyer and then pursued a diplomatic career.
In 1971, the Blankensteins came to Cyprus for the first time, as Hartmut was appointed for a period of two years as an attaché at the German Embassy in Nicosia. The couple rented an apartment in Kyrenia at this time.
It was extremely interesting for me to speak once again to a contemporary witness about the times in Cyprus, when the island was politically not yet separated, although the separation of the two ethnic groups, Greeks and Turks, had de facto begun in 1964 and had continued in the subsequent years. It is beyond the scope of this interview to write everything down that Hartmut has to report from those days. But maybe I can persuade him some day for a little lecture on the history of Cyprus…
Both had liked the north coast near Kyrenia so much that when Hartmut no longer worked at the embassy in Nicosia, they came back for a holiday in 1973. The result of this trip was the spontaneous decision to buy a house in Lapta as a future holiday home. By the Turkish intervention in 1974 and the subsequent political uncertainty in the northern part of Cyprus and because Hartmut was at that time engaged in diplomatic services in the former Soviet Union, the couple were not able to visit their newly acquired property for several years. By 1977 the situation had changed and Hartmut and Heidemarie were able to start using their holiday home regularly.
Until 2007, Hartmut remained in the service of the German Department of State, most recently as ambassador in Oman and as a special envoy for the development of the police forces in Afghanistan. Previously, he had travelled in his function as a diplomat and also as an inspector of the German embassies abroad to more than 50 countries worldwide, staying there for short or longer periods of time. In most of these missions, he was accompanied by his wife Heidemarie.
Heidemarie was also born in Silesia, went to school in Berlin and then had an apprenticeship as a bank clerk at the German Commerz-Bank. She continued this profession for 9 years before meeting Hartmut and they were married in 1970, in order that Heidemarie could “travel around the world” with him. Is it any wonder that both of their grown-up sons speak several languages and are today successfully managing their lives in Mexico and Australia. A ployglotte family!
1989 Heidemarie made an internship at a German-Turkish business newspaper and is since that time practising the profession of a freelance journalist. She has written many articles for major German newspapers and magazines.
For most of the year the couple´s centre of life is in Northern Cyprus now, the rest of the time they mainly spend in Berlin.
At last I spoke to the Blankensteins about their involvement in the charity organization “Red Dove” which has made its mission to support health facilities and social projects in Northern Cyprus with collected donations ( I already reported last week about this topic – to remember please click here ).
The association “Red Dove” was founded 10 years ago in Munich by the daughter of the first German ambassador in Cyprus, Joseph Koenig.
Through a good friend Heidemarie and Hartmut became aware of the club and decided to contribute their help.
On the occasion of Hartmut’s birthday party last year, the invited guests were asked to pay a monetary donation to the “Red Dove” instead of handing over gifts. A handsome amount came together which was used to supply health facilities in Dipkarpaz, Yeni Erenköy and Lapta with medical equipment two weeks ago.
The Blankensteins plan to continue their support for this organization in the future.
Maybe there are indeed some readers of this article who may be interested in supporting the “Red Dove” as well.
For more information visit the “Red Dove” website by clicking here please!