Joined: Dec 01, 2011
|Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:02 pm Post subject:
First I want to apologise for my long time of absence on e-m.com. After receiving a notification about a new e-m.com PM on my private e-mail account, I visited this board for the first time after more than half a year.
I noticed some nervous or aggressive undertones in this discussion here, and doubts in my integrity or intentions, or the intentions of Juergen's family. This is nothing JH would have wanted to arise after his death (if he ever had expected something like that).
Therefore, I want to clear some points. If you have read all related earlier posts from me, you already know the most. But the upcoming discussion indicates that some things have been mixed up meanwhile...
1. My person and my relation to the Haible family and Juergens business:
I had been knowing Juergen for many years; he was not what I would call a very close friend, but we knew each other from our church and attended the same Bible study group. We both were very "infamous" for our discussions about theological topics. When the Haibles moved from Erlangen to Nuremberg some years later, we somehow lost sight of each other, only visiting them now and then in intervals of months or even years. I knew only vaguely that Juergen had a PCB design business for synth music (besides his job at Siemens company).
We refreshed our relation only short before his death, because my wife and I had noticed the "changes" that had happened to him in the meantime. For example, one day Juergen called and gave all his home-made music samples to my wife, because "he would not need them anymore" and they would only take space in his new, small apartment (my wife is a video producer and she needs some royalty-free backgroud music from time to time, which he knew). He had started to live apart from his wife and his two children, who would see their father only on week-ends. He started to sell all of his equipment via his homepage, all across Europe. Later, he somehow handed his latest and most ambitious project, the Living Vocoder, solely to the testing user group (but the latter I learned only after I had started studying the respective postings on e-m.com, still before Juergen's passing).
I never had any connection to his business; I am a complete noob in terms of DIY electronic music - therefore I have no ambitions whatever to become his successor, take over his business, make money from his PCBs or whatsoever.
When he died (only about a month after he had contacted again), the first thing I did was to inform you, the e-m community, about it. I spent days and nights to keep you informed, though there were not many news to share. But I got a lot of PMs on e-m.com and other communities I had registered (e.g. muffwiggler). It was easy to find these forums by searching for "Haible" in Google. Second thing was that I went to the funeral, handed over a print-out of your up-to-then collected obituaries to the family, just to give them a sign of solidarity (and to bring to mind to them that there are people out there who would hope for a kind of continuity of Juergen's business). Later I helped the family when they had to clear Juergen's apartment, because Birgit, his widow, could not keep all of the things in her home, and she wouldn't rather know what to do with them. They had two little children (the younger one was only two yrs old), Birgit did not earn much money, and I felt very pity for her. We agreed that one part of the legacy, mainly the PCBs and some smaller gadgets, stayed with me; another part, for example electronic components and bigger devices (e.g. the PolyKORG Clone) stayed with Stefan Schmidt (maybe you know him as the creator of the "Eightvoice" analog synth). Stefan was a closer friend of Juergen and knows much more about his business than I do. But he has no intentions either to continue Juergen's business. I got acquainted with Stefan only after the funeral.
2. The financial situation, the JH Memorial Fund and other ideas of support for the Haible family:
It had not been my idea to initiate a Memorial Fund; we usually do not have such a custom in Germany. I was motivated to persuade Birgit to such a Fund by postings from other users (mainly from abroad) in various internet communities, where people asked me how they could support the bereaved children and wife. When it turned out that it was rather expensive to send donations from abroad to a regular bank account (and also expensive to keep such an account), I persuaded Birgit once again to open a PayPal account. She was a bit reluctant because she had to do a lot of extra work already dealing with authorities, fill in forms, organise the children and work. She also had (and maybe has) no real idea how well-known Juergen was in the DIY community, so she thought that it wouldn't be worth the effort.
Jurgen and Birgit were almost divorced when he died; they had agreed on a separation of property, so Birgit had no right and no access to any of Juergen's bank accounts or other property. She had got some monthly support for the children, and Juergen had had the children for the week-ends every fortnight.
Soon, some of you expressed first ideas on e-m.com how the production/selling of Haible designs could be combined with a relief for the family. But the PCBs were not for sale, and a discussion started if it would be honest or not (both in terms of IP and of ethics) to clone the designs, create own batches of PCBs, etc. I expressed my opinion about those plans already. Meanwhile I received a bunch of proposals and suggestions how the business with PCBs could be revived. Many people, though, just pre-ordered some of Juergen's ready-made PCBs, in case they should be available again.
Birgit and her children are the true victims of this tragedy. Imagine they did not only have to overcome the divorce and the interfering bereavement of a father and husband; because of that strange situation they also were tortured by visiting authorities, interrogations, investigations about the volume of the legacy, negotiations with banks (and keeping me informed, so I could pass the information to you). Besides that, Birgit works in a day care (which is one of the worst-paid professions in Germany), had expenses for the funeral, outstanding balances etc.
I personally think it was a bad decision of Juergen to separate himself from Birgit (of course he didn't know he would die soon and everything would go downhill from then). It was also desastrous for the children. I did not want to leave Birgit alone in her situation. But there was not much I could do. I live in a different city, have my own full-time job and family. The only support I can bring is by keeping the momentum of Juergen's remembrance in the community and hoping to get some relief by the sale of his remaining PCBs in the community (but who will do this job when there a some hundred shipments to prepare, mostly abroad, with customs etc.?).
3. Current situation:
For some months now I haven't updated any information here, because there wasn't anything to update. I did not follow any of the discussions, and read PMs only scarcely.
The new situation now is that an attorney/lawyer was installed for each of Juergen's children in December 2013. He shall represent their finacial interests regarding the legacy. He will also have the right to sell any property, whenever he thinks that the business will be to the welfare of the children. Currently, he is collecting information about the various items of the legacy from Birgit, Stefan and me. I will try to explain the complicated situation in the community to him, but I cannot determine how he will decide. I fear the offer with the highest immediate profit will win, not necessarily the one which gives the greatest honour to the life work of Juergen. Some people here indicated that they would like to continue Juergen's business in some way or the other (also with benefit for the Haible family); I will try to establish the respective contacts between them and the attorney and keep you informed.
Thanks for reading so far; I hope I could clear out the doubts and suspicions regarding my person or my intentions. I came to this role as an "intermediary" out of the blue, just by informing the community about Juergen's death. I wasn't even a very close friend of him, but I did what I felt would be right to do.
PS.: Everyone who wants to test my identity can send me a PM. He will get my private e-mail or something else to prove that I am who I am claiming to be (you can also go to JHs facebook entry from Nov 10th, 2011 and read my comment on his little finger operation shortly after his birthday, and shortly before he died).
PPS.: On one hand, I totally agree on seanparks previous posting. It is all about showing respect for JH's legacy. But feeding his children wouldn't be such a bad thing, too... Btw., I still have two Living Vocoder PCBs from the first test batch. Maybe someone could try to re-design it