South African lawyer and anti-apartheid leader Harry Schwarz dies age 85

Friday, February 5, 2010

Harry Heinz Schwarz

South African lawyer, politcian, diplomat and anti-apartheid leader Harry Schwarz has died at the age of 85. He died after suffering from a short, undisclosed illness.

Leader of the Democratic Alliance of South Africa Helen Zille paid tribute to Schwarz. She said "On behalf of the Democratic Alliance, I extend sincere condolences on the death of Harry Schwarz". She added "Harry Schwarz will be remembered for his signal contribution to the development of our democracy. His piercing intellect, and long professional experience in banking, made him the most astute analyst in Parliament on economic and financial matters during his terms in office. He has engraved his place in South Africa's political history. We will always remember him".

Harry Heinz Schwarz was born in Cologne, Germany in 1924. At the age of 10 he arrived in South Africa as a Jewish refugee, he later served in the South African Air Force. After World War II he qualified as a lawyer from the University of the Witwatersrand.

As both a trained advocate and attorney, Schwarz served on the defence team on Nelson Mandela and several other anti-apartheid activists during the 1963-64 Rivonia Trail.

Schwarz entered politics in 1951 with his election to the Johannesburg City Council. He entered parliament in 1974 on the UP ticket. He was the opposition's spokesman on finance until 1987. Despite being on the opposition he was chosen as South Africa's ambassdor to the United States and served from 1990 to 1994. He was also South Africa's first ambassador to Barbados, serving from 1993 to 1995.

His funeral is planned for Febuary 7th. He is survived by his wife Annette, and his three children Jonathan, Allan and Michael.