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En ros av sten: FSWL minns Lili Stern-Pohlmann 1930-2021

Av: Ajay Chowdhury
Publicerad:
2021-09-16
Lili Stern-Pohlmann (1930-2021)
Lili Stern-Pohlmann passed away peacefully after a short illness on Wednesday 15th September 2021 at the age of 91. To quote Bond Continuation author Raymond Benson, “She had a small but significant connection to the James Bond world that likely only a few close to the franchise will know.” Since the mid-1980s, she was the life partner of Ian Fleming’s literary agent, Peter Janson-Smith (1922-2017) and was close to a number of Bond alumni.

Lili Stern-Pohlmann was the widow of Austrian star Eric Pohlmann who passed away in 1979. Pohlmann was a noted character actor on the British screen who voiced Ernst Stavro Blofeld in From Russia with Love (1963) and Thunderball (1965). A Holocaust survivor from Poland, Lili re-settled in London and became a doyenne of the Polish community here. She was good friends with the late Sir Ken and Lady Letizia Adam as well as the Broccoli family. Lili would often laud the care shown to her by Barbara Broccoli when Peter passed away in 2017.

Peter and Lili were very supportive of Bond scholar Raymond Benson who met them first when researching his acclaimed book, The James Bond Beside Companion (1988, 2001). They later supported Raymond when he was announced as the first American Bond Continuation author in 1996.

Anthony Horowitz and Lili Stern-Pohlmann at the book launch of Forever And A Day in London 2018
The current James Bond continuation author, Anthony Horowitz, and Lili Stern-Pohlmann during the book launch of Forever And A Day at Scotch of St James in London, May 31, 2018. © Ajay Chowdhury. All rights reserved.

Lili became the de facto matriarch to the US based charity, The Ian Fleming Foundation. Peter Janson-Smith and Raymond Benson were founding board members along with Bond historian and writers, John Cork and Dave Worrall - and collectors Michael van Blaricum, Doug Redenius, Brad Frank and David A Reinhardt. The work of the charity still carries on with a number of IFF vehicles about to go on exhibition in Los Angeles in the Peterson Museum. Redenius, who became a close friend to Lili, noted, “She was a truly remarkable person who survived the Holocaust and inspired so many people during the course of her life.” For a number of years, Redenius led The Ian Fleming Foundation charity golf events held at Stoke Park benefitting the British Heart Foundation. Lili provided valuable input usually around the table of the Kensington restaurants, Il Portico - where her acquaintance the late Dame Diana Rigg would often dine - or her favourite, the unofficial Polish embassy, Daquise.

Lili was a memorable figure in the UK publishing scene as Peter administered the literary estates of a number of authors including Agatha Christie and A A Milne. Peter also continued to run a successful literary agency, as did Peter’s eldest son, Patrick. Lili added colour to publishing events and enjoyed her time with artists across Europe. She was sharp, intelligent and plain-speaking whether addressing embassy functions of the Houses of Parliament.


Lili Stern-Pohlmann and her mother Cecylia Stern were the only survivors in an extended family of over 300 people. Her brother Uriel and father Filip Stern did not survive. Lili received Poland’s Commander's Cross of Polonia Restituta and was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2020 for her services to Holocaust education, awareness and human relations. She was honorary president of the Holocaust education charity, Learning from the Righteous, which highlights the stories of rescuers. Lili’s remarkable story was captured in the 2020 book, Lili: Lili Stern-Pohlmann in conversation with Anna Blasiak by Anna Blasiak. She told her story to the Association of Jewish Refugees.

The book cover for Lili: Lili Stern-Pohlmann in conversation with Anna Blasiak
The book cover for Lili: Lili Stern-Pohlmann in conversation with Anna Blasiak. © 2020 Holland House Books. All rights reserved.

Lili is survived by her daughter, Karen Mantell and her grandsons Corey and Daniel, granddaughter, Kailin and her great-grandson. Karen noted her mother passed away on “the holiest of holy nights in the Jewish tradition, the Sabbath of all Sabbaths, Yom Kippur. It is said that the righteous transcend on this sacred night.” She noted her mother’s final words, “My life was full, loving, interesting and active. I should like all my dearest and loved ones, and all my dear friends, to gain comfort from the many warm memories they may have retained of me, rather than to mourn my passing”.

Jerry Juroe and Lili Stern-Pohlmann during Jerry's book launch at Bond in Motion in London on 11th October 2018
Jerry Juroe and Lili Stern-Pohlmann during Jerry's book launch at Bond in Motion in London on 11th October 2018. © Mark Witherspoon. All rights reserved.

Text by Ajay Chowdhury. Copyright © 2021 From Sweden with Love. All rights reserved.

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