The American Academy in Berlin was founded in 1994 at the initiative of Richard Holbrooke, then the American ambassador to Germany. Independent, nonpartisan, and privately funded, the American Academy in Berlin is committed to sustaining and enhancing the long-term intellectual, cultural, and political ties between the United States and Germany.
Each year, the Academy awards two-dozen semester-long Berlin Prize fellowships to outstanding scholars, writers, and artists from the United States. They share their work with German colleagues and audiences at lectures, readings, discussions, concerts, and film screenings, which form the core of the Academy’s rich program of public events.
When Richard C. Holbrooke and the last of the American troops were departing Berlin, he proposed the idea of an American Academy in Berlin. The lakeside villa that now houses the American Academy in Berlin was once the home of distinguished banker Hans Arnhold (1888-1966), his wife, Ludmilla (née Heller, 1894-1976), and their daughters, Ellen Maria Gorrissen (1916-1996) and Anna-Maria Kellen (1918-2017). Forced to leave Germany in 1933, Hans Arnhold and his family moved first to Paris and then, ultimately, in 1939, to New York City. The Arnhold villa in Wannsee was appropriated by the Deutsche Reichsbank, which purchased the property for a token price. The house was then recovered by the Arnholds in 1951, under a restitution claim with the German government.
Holbrooke came upon the Arnhold villa in Wannsee and then in, New York, he spoke with Stephen and Anna-Maria Kellen about transforming Ms. Kellen’s childhood home into an American post-Cold War center of transatlantic cultural and intellectual exchange. Anna-Maria and Stephen M. Kellen were enthusiastic about the idea and, in 1997, at an official ceremony at Berlin’s Rotes Rathaus, provided the $3 million founding gift for the renovation of the villa and its grounds. To this day, the Kellen-Arnhold family remains the Academy’s primary source of funding.
LIMIT – 20 Members