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Prof. em. Dr. Jürgen Friedrichs

The ISS mourns the loss of Prof. Dr. Jürgen Friedrichs - an obituary

Only a few months after his 80th birthday, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Friedrichs died unexpectedly on 19 February 2019. Whoever saw him ride his bicycle to the courtyard of the former building of the Institute in Greinstraße just a few weeks ago - as always full of energy and anticipation for the work in the new premises of the institute on Universitätsstraße - can only react to his death with bewilderment.

Jürgen Friedrichs has had a decisive influence on the Institute's work over the past three decades and made a significant contribution to the national and international reputation of Cologne’s sociology. Born in Berlin, he came to Cologne in 1991 - after his studies, doctorate and first professorship in Hamburg - where he was first head of the Research Institute for Sociology until 2003 and then of the Institute for Applied Social Research until his retirement in 2007. Until 2012, Jürgen Friedrichs was Managing Editor of the Cologne Journal of Sociology and Social Psychology (where he read and evaluated 1767 (!) manuscripts over a period of 20 years) and until last chairman of our sponsor association SocioCologne.

Freed from the administrative obligations associated with a university professorship, Jürgen Friedrichs continued his teaching and research activities as emeritus professor with undiminished verve. For generations, his seminars have enjoyed great popularity among students, and the number of final theses he supervised was regularly (at times significantly) higher than that of his full-time colleagues at the Institute. His latest projects on gentrification and on the integration of migrants and refugees, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, among others, show the continuity and persistence with which Jürgen Friedrichs pursued topics that seemed sociologically and socially relevant to him, while at the same time always openly and curiously addressing the latest developments in content and methodology in the field.

Unfortunately, Jürgen Friedrichs could not complete all the ongoing projects, not to mention the new project proposals he had just worked on. It is a matter of course for us to ensure that not only the ongoing projects - in particular the Cologne Refugee Studies - are successfully completed in his sense, but also that our own sociological work meets the high standards of theory-based empirical research that Jürgen Friedrichs so outstandingly upholds.

We will miss him very much as a great (and always generous) friend, mentor and colleague. Our thoughts and our sympathy go to his wife Ulrike and his daughter Rebecca.