Christa Maar: Buried in Munich: Farewell to a brave lifesaver

Christa Maar, the founder and director of the Felix Burda Foundation, died on November 4 in Munich at the age of 83. Your name represents the most successful campaign for the prevention and early detection of colon cancer in Germany. Family, friends and companions said goodbye on Friday with a moving funeral service.

A good hundred close friends and companions gathered at the idyllic St. Georg cemetery in Bogenhausen last Friday to say goodbye to Christa Maar along with Hubert Burda, Maria Furtwängler and Jacob Burda. A week earlier, a year after the Felix Burda Foundation’s 20th anniversary, its founder and board member passed away on November 4 at the age of 83 from a serious illness.

As the bells rang, the mourners entered the small, light-flooded Baroque church. Stephan Sattler, a longtime associate of Christa Maar and board member of the Hubert Burda Foundation, welcomed those present to the wooden box decorated with red roses. In addition, her favorite portrait and two large wreaths were one of the Burda family with red roses and one of colleagues from the Felix Burda Foundation with white and pink roses.

Christa Maar buried next to son Felix Burda

In his speech, Stephan Sattler welcomed those present on behalf of Hubert Burda, who was married to the art historian from 1967 to 1972. And he explained that it was Christa Maar’s last will that she wanted to be buried here, next to their son. Felix died of colon cancer in 2001. The resting place is home to many prominent personalities and artists such as Erich Kästner, Bernd Eichinger and Helmut Dietl and today it was not only a place of appreciative words, but also a place of comforting music. At the request of the Burda family, a piano had been brought to the church for burial the day before. After the speech, pianist Anna Gebhardt and baritone Jonas Müller, two young musicians from the Bavarian State Opera, performed Schubert’s song “Im Abendrot” and later Schumann’s song “Mondnacht”.

A dignified farewell to a selfless and strong fighter

In the first speech, Prof. Josef Hecken, impartial chairman of the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA), who won Christa Maar to her mission 21 years ago, paid tribute to her life’s work as a pioneer in colorectal cancer prevention and early detection. “It was her overall personality, characterized by charming cosmopolitanism, cleverness and assertiveness, as well as strategic skill, persuasiveness and – if necessary – also an unyielding willingness to deal with conflict that has made her run the foundation so successfully. And the art historian managed to strategically use the media and prominent ambassadors for her charity: “The first condition for this grandiose success was that she tackled the subject of colon cancer and colon cancer prevention with courage and attack, with a lot of empathy and charm from the previous ‘Taboo zones’. ‘ removed and thus made ‘socially acceptable’ Screening colonoscopy, invitation procedures, better testing for occult blood: These are milestones that have had a major impact on Christa Maar and the foundation and have motivated them.” And he promised to continue her legacy. “It won’t be easy, because she was the heart, the brain and, when necessary, the engine, the relentless driver when it came to advancing colon cancer prevention and thus the foundation’s goal. And despite all the progress made, the to-do list is still long.”

In the second speech, author and critic Michael Krüger, a close friend of the Burda family since 1968, praised Christa Maar as a determined fighter “with a bear personality”: “If the trait ‘strong’ applies to someone, then it is Christa Don’t forget that she had to go through some serious life and love blows in her life, despite everything she stuck to a life motto: “Don’t whine, keep going! Felix died in 2001, married, father of two. Anyone would have understood if Christa had fallen into a lifetime of torment. But even now, at this low point in her life, at the age of 62, she pulls herself out of the life-destroying swamp with the help of Hubert and, with bravado, intelligence and perseverance and the active help of collaborators and friends, her last major project. on her life path: the bowel cancer foundation. The greatest and still enduring success of her life was in that she had the power to turn the most intense pain of her life into a project that benefited society as a whole. She, who had lost her child, . . . became a celebrated savior. It is this (…) image that we should always have in mind when we think of her.”

Not only ex-federal health minister Jens Spahn, the chairman of the Jewish community in Munich and Upper Bavaria Charlotte Knobloch, actor and ambassador of the Felix Burda Foundation Erol Sander were present at the funeral, but also Prof. dr. Michael Hallek and Dr. Berndt Birkner, a gastroenterologist and member of the foundation’s board of trustees. And, of course, many Burda companions. These include director of corporate accounting and board member of the Felix Burda Foundation Heinz Spengler, chairman of the board Paul-Bernhard Kallen, board member Andreas Rittstieg, board member Holger Eckstein, board member Katharina Herrmann and board member Philipp Welte. In addition Multicolored the editor-in-chief Robert Pölzer, BurdaVerlag CPO Kay Labinsky, Head of the Burda School of Journalism Nikolaus von der Decken, DLD -Founder Steffi Czerny, ex- Colorful -Head and CEO of the Tribute to Bambi Foundation Patrica Riekel and Ex- Focus – Editor-in-chief Helmut Markwort. People who have known and appreciate Christa Maar for years.

After the funeral, the mourners gathered in the private rooms on Schwabinger Schackstraße, where Hubert Burda commemorated Christa Maar in a very personal speech, recalling her last meeting and her time with Felix at the time in the house. With deep respect he paid tribute to her person and her life’s work: “Despite our divorce, Christa Maar remained a good confidant throughout her life. And in her fight for preventive medicine, she was a great role model in terms of determination and implementation. The Felix Burda Foundation was her life’s work, she overcame the pain of Felix’s death by taking action to help others. And Christa would have loved the recognition she received today.”

Prominent mourners and appreciative words

Carsten Frederic Buchert, Director of Marketing & Communications at the Felix Burda Foundation: “When I started my job in 2007, she walked arm in arm with me across Rosenkavalierplatz in Munich and said: “We are now the new dream team of the Felix Burda Foundation And that was it: a dream to work with her. The Queen of Prevention, pioneer of colon cancer prevention, most energetic and hands-on, most charming and despite her personal fate always the most positive, sweet, wonderful woman. With her, as a team, as communicators, as lobbyists for a good cause, we could just “do”, try out, develop, produce, post, shoot, shoot, be fast, sometimes fail and most importantly: celebrate success.”

Ursula Hollmann, assistant to Dr. Christa Maar: “We got on well, which I didn’t expect after what was a very strange job interview for me at the time and a surprising acceptance. She appreciated my letter style, so I was a big plus with her. I loved her direct way. A few years ago, I had dark hair for years, which the boss did not like at all. One time, when she came in, she said: “There she is – the dark one!”

Stephan Sattler, Editor at Large and board member of the Hubert Burda Foundation: “From 1988 to 1992 I worked with our Christa on the monthly culture magazine Pan. That was the best time of my life as a journalist. It was always about the beautiful and we had no big words needed to understand each other. One look was enough. It was a very harmonious interaction.”

Georg Zoche, Felix Burda’s best friend: “It was the worst thing for Christa to bury her own child. She told me that quietly not long ago. She never showed her pain. After Felix died, she judged that every year she had a party for him on his birthday and invited his closest friends to it. Even then, when we were only 15, she always treated us as equals, asked us interested questions and took us seriously. And despite her cool aloofness, acting like a self-protection was a great warmth in itself for her.”

Steffi Czerny, founder of DLD: “For me, Christa Maar was an important friend and teacher when it came to discipline, concentration and fresh thinking. The success of the DLD conferences would not have been possible without her “Academy for the Third Millennium” – a platform for topics related to digitization – never been possible I have fond memories of our “study trips” to Israel and America where I learned to think interdisciplinary and appreciate unexpected encounters and her commitment to the Felix Burda Foundation was exemplary. “

Bernhard Klein, Staf Hubert Burda: “I have known Christa Maar since 2014 and have also designed the foundation’s website together with her. She was such a powerful and energetic, but also very loving and sensitive woman. And I always drink coffee with her. you enjoyed me at Sebastiano’s.”

Dr Berndt Birkner, Vice-President of the network against colon cancer eV, curator of the Felix Burda Foundation: “In 2001 the then Federal Committee of Physicians and Health Insurers (now G-BA). I ​​was an advisor One of the participants who attended told me that only under pressure from “the lady in the south” colonoscopy was introduced as a legal service for colorectal cancer screening.”

Prof. dr. Heidrun Thaiss, pediatrician, honorary professor at the Technical University of Munich and former head of the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA): “Exactly one year ago we celebrated the anniversary of the foundation and I was able to spend an entire afternoon planning with Christa Maar in Bogenhausen and design preventive strategies for the future. That and more will continue! She gave us an assignment – we will carry it out!”

Jens Spahn: The Death of Dr. Christa Maar makes me very sad. I have enjoyed every encounter with her for many years. What always impressed me was her charm, her openness and her great scientific expertise. She was a pioneer in the fight against colon cancer. She has mastered the drilling of thick plates in health policy. With her empathy, but also with her typical intransigence and her advocacy for precautionary measures, she has saved hundreds of thousands of colon cancers – and with it many people from certain death. What an achievement for life! And by the way, Christa Maar also played a bit of fate for me personally: “I met my current husband ten years ago at the Felix Burda Award. I bow to her life’s work.”

Note:, like the Felix Burda Foundation, is owned by Hubert Burda Media

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