Lüder Lüers after his 90th birthday (Source: Ralf Krämer/Kindernothilfe)

Kindernothilfe mourns the death of founding member Lüder Lüers 

(Duisburg, 03.03.2022) Kindernothilfe mourns the death of its former board member Lüder Lüers, the last contemporary witness of Kindernothilfe's founding. At the age of 95, he fell asleep peacefully today surrounded by his family. He was involved in Kindernothilfe's work until the end - it had always been "a matter close to his heart". 

Lüers was a trained horticultural architect and worked for Kindernothilfe on a voluntary basis after its foundation. When it came to setting up the work in India more effectively, he left his company without hesitation in 1965. Newly married, he traveled to India, where he remained until 1973. He organized professional training for project staff and opened up new areas of work, such as aid for polio-affected children. In 1969, he was involved in founding Kindernothilfe's first partner organization, the Church of South India-Council for Child Care. Lüers became its executive secretary. His work often took him to the limits of his endurance, but he never regretted his decision: "Many people can become horticulturalists, but what I did was meant for me by God." Two of his four sons were born in India. The family returned to Germany in the spring of 1973, and Lüers became vice chairman of the Kindernothilfe board. 

When he retired in 1991, he kept in touch with countless former foster children he had met during his time in India - including several trips. "It is moving to see what has become of them," Lüers recounted, "and how they now take responsibility for children in similar situations, so that Kindernothilfe's help is multiplied. Many were the first from their village to study. They have become judges, teachers, government officials. I have been to their villages, so much has happened there, and Kindernothilfe was the ignition key for this development. I am filled with great gratitude that God was able to use my abilities in this way." 

In 2020, Lüers became the only person to be awarded honorary membership of Kindernothilfe for his outstanding long-term commitment, his voluntary work and great personal dedication. On February 19, 2022, he received the Cross of Merit 1st Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. "Lüder Lüers has contributed to providing important help to children all over the world for more than 60 years," said State Secretary for Family Affairs Andreas Bothe at the award ceremony. One of Lüers' sons accepted the award. "His tireless and devoted commitment laid the foundation for Kindernothilfe, which today operates worldwide," the citation said, "and helped it become a globally active children's rights organization." 

"Kindernothilfe owes Lüder Lüers a great deal," said Katrin Weidemann, chair of the board. "And with us, all the children who were the focus of his tireless efforts. We mourn the loss of a great colleague who is now with his God, by whom he felt guided all these years. Our thoughts are with his family."