Mourning the death of a great Egyptologist and museum-maker: Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Priese

31.01.2017
Neues Museum

From 1988 to 2000, Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Priese was Director of the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. He died unexpectedly on 27 January 2017 at the age of 81.

When he began his career at the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung at the Staatliche Museen (in East Berlin) in 1978, Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Priese, a habilitated Egyptologist and expert on Sudan, turned his attention to auditing the museum’s holdings. The Second World War had inflicted great losses on the collection, the extent of which had still not been completely ascertained even in the 1970s. Moreover, with the partition of Berlin, the Egyptian Collection had been split between two sites – the Museumsinsel in the East and Charlottenburg in the West. Thus it was only when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 that it became possible to carry out a full audit of the holdings, a task which was largely complete by the time Karl-Heinz Priese retired.

No one can ever fill the gap which the completely unexpected death of Karl-Heinz Priese has left within the team at Berlin’s Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung. In the museum annals he will go down as the director who brought together, audited and organised the collection’s holdings after the confusion and destruction of the Second World War. By doing so, he restored to the Ägyptisches Museum a large part of its identity.

Prof. Dr. Friederike Seyfried, Director of the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin