Today (18 June) Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier sent the widow of Lord Ralf Dahrendorf the following message of condolence:
“I was extremely sorry to hear the sad news of your husband's death. With his passing, Germany and Europe have lost a great standard-bearer for freedom.
Throughout his life your husband – a man I very much admired and with whom I talked for quite a time on the phone only a few weeks ago – was a passionate champion of freedom and social responsibility. He blazed the trail not only for the social-liberal coalition in Germany but also for liberal and social ideas throughout Europe. Education is a civil right – in Germany that is an axiom inseparably associated with your husband's name. Without his inspiration, social mobility through education would have remained the privilege of the few. As a politician I see it as my task to make your husband's legacy – education for all – a reality for everyone.
Lord Dahrendorf was a man who transcended borders – whether social, political or geographical – both in thought and deed. On more than one generation in Britain, Germany and well beyond he had a profound influence. He was no ivory-tower intellectual: whatever the problem, he was determined to get to the bottom of it. We will remember Lord Dahrendorf as someone who remained right up to the end a mover and shaker in academia, politics and public life in general. His death is a great loss to us all.
For the difficult time that lies ahead I wish you and your family strength, solace and faith in the future.”