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ABC-CLIO Founder Eric Boehm Dies in Santa Barbara at Age 99

Eric Boehm, a German-born academic and business entrepreneur who founded the Santa Barbara-based ABC-CLIO publishing house, died Monday at the age of 99.

Entrepreneur Eric Boehm and his late wife, Inge, founded Goleta-based ABC-CLIO, a family-owned publishing enterprise that grew to become one of the world’s leading sources of bibliographic databases and reference books. Click to view larger
Entrepreneur Eric Boehm and his late wife, Inge, founded Goleta-based ABC-CLIO, a family-owned publishing enterprise that grew to become one of the world’s leading sources of bibliographic databases and reference books. (Noozhawk file photo)

Boehm passed away at his Santa Barbara home surrounded by family members, according to Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels.

He was born in Hof, Germany, on July 15, 1918, just months before the end of World War I, the son a family with a long history in the textile business.

At the age of 16, Boehm fled Nazi Germany in 1934 at the urging of relatives who lived in Youngstown, Ohio. His brother and parents followed a few years later.

Boehm earned undergraduate degrees in history and chemistry at The College of Wooster in Ohio, and also received a master’s degree in international relations.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army and became an officer in the Army Air Corps, where he worked as an interrogation officer because of his language skills and education.

“This led to an assignment for the dissolution of the Supreme Command of the Luftwaffe, the headquarters of the German air forces,” Boehm wrote in his bio published on the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara’s website. “There, I had my encounter with history: I was the interpreting officer at the arrest of German Field Marshal (Wilhelm) Keitel.

“At the subsequent war crimes trial in Nuremberg, Germany, Keitel was sentenced to death and hanged. Being personally involved in the capitulation of Nazi Germany was the high point of my military career.”

Boehm met his future wife, Inge Pauli, while working at the headquarters of the U.S. military government in Berlin. The couple married in 1948 and had four children.

Boehm published a book, We Survived, a collection of personal accounts of survival in Nazi Germany, which he wrote before completing doctoral studies in international relations at Yale University in 1951.

In 1961, the Boehms founded ABC-CLIO — an internationally known publishing enterprise whose bibliographic databases and reference books are standard sources for educators and students.

Boehm went on to found the International Academy, and in his later years supported education in environmental, biographic snd global studies at UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College.

In 2011, he was the subject of a Noozhawk profile about his history, heritage and business ventures.

Boehm is survived by two sons, Ronald and Steven Boehm. He was preceded in death by his wife, Inge, in 2000.

Private interment will take place at the Goleta Cemetery.

Plans for a public memorial were still pending Wednesday.

Arrangements were under the direction of Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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