Lili Gutmann Collas - una vita avventurosa fra giornalismo e arte - an adventurous life between journalism and art

Il Giorno Milano 26 February 2020

A tribute to Lili Collas Gutmann by Carla Maria Casanova. To read it in Italiam, click here.

To read the notice of her death, in Corriere della Sera of 8 February 2020, click here.

English translation of the tribute:

Bureaucratic delays have not yet allowed it to be established where she will rest: whether in the Famedio of the Cimitero (cemetery) Monumentale in Milan, in the historic Cimitero degli Allori in Florence or in Berlin, in the family tomb next to her famous grandfather, where she would have always wanted to be buried.

Lili Gutmann Collas, a journalist of the foreign press (who remember her in the obituary "with her, turns a page of European journalism") disappeared on the threshold of 101 years. An indomitable character with a very adventurous life, and (unfortunately) more. 

She was born in Leiden (Netherlands) on 17 July 1919, to Fritz Bernhard Eugen Gutmann and Louise Erika Baroness von Landau. The Gutmans were among the greatest German Jewish bankers, grandfather Eugen had founded the Dresdner Bank. They were also great collectors of works of art.

The immense wonder of the art collection attracted Hitler and Goering, who asked Gutmann to "buy it". Faced with a certain reticence, in 1943 the couple were arrested, deported to extermination camps, separated and killed. All assets confiscated. Lili, in Italy, married to Bosi, a very young mother of three children, learned of it when the war was over, after a long search conducted also through Italian diplomacy, through her uncle Senator Luca Orsini Baroni, former ambassador in Berlin.

Similar experiences leave two roads: succumbing or throwing everything behind, wearing armour and throwing oneself forward to break through any wall. Lili chose the latter. She spoke 5 languages, threw himself into her job, travelled, became a journalist, came to live in Milan. She separated, met and married the Greek consul Spiros Collas. She was widowed and moved to Florence. She often went back to Milan to see performances at La Scala. Finally, she started to look at the family archives, helped by her young friend Elena Ceccarini, a Mibact researcher, who was close to her until the last moment.

English translation of the death notice in Corriere della Sera:

                               Lili Collas Gutmann

has left us at the age of 100 on 29 January 2020 and with her a page of European journalism has turned.  Her colleagues and friends, Charlotte, Christiane, Doris, Dominique, Friedhelm, Henning, Katharina, Ruth, Patricia and Thesy, remember her with affection.

Milan, 7 February 2020

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