Accusations fly in Flick gift fiasco

April 19, 1996

Oxford University fundraising could suffer following the public debacle over the controversial Flick professorship.

University spokesmen say that the sudden decision by Gert-Rudolf Flick, grandson of the pro-Nazi war criminal Friedrich Flick, to withdraw his funding for the post will lead to greater rigour in screening procedures for all potentially controversial bequests, donations and endowments.

But Henry Drucker, who headed fundraising for Oxford University at the time, said the campaign against accepting Dr Flick's Pounds 360,000-plus endowment, for a part-time professorship in European thought at Balliol College, had scared off the publicity-shy German and could put off would-be benefactors.

Dr Drucker, who now runs the fundraising consultancy Oxford Philanthropic, said there were no apologies to make over the choice of Dr Flick who was approved separately by the university's ethics committee. "I simply do not think that Dr Flick wanted the publicity."

But David Cesarani, Alliance Family professor of modern Jewish studies at Manchester University who opposed the Flick donation, said: "It seems to be an act of sheer petulance on behalf of Dr Flick. All he has now achieved is hurt for Oxford and still he has done nothing for the survivors. I think universities must think very, very carefully about gifts in future."

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