Walter Kohn: an honourable man

Elizabeth Sissi Gill

The mysterious events in Bolivia surrounding the last 21 months of the life of her maternal grandfather, Walter Kohn, were never talked about in Sissi Gill’s family. But in 2014, gaining her 90-year old mother’s consent, she resolved to investigate Walter’s past. What emerged from her research in Vienna, the US and, above all, in the newspapers archives in La Paz, was the extraordinary story of a Viennese man who sailed to Bolivia in search of a new life but ended up spending 16 months in the infamous San Pedro prison, accused of double murder he had not committed. In a sensational and heavily-biased trial, Walter Kohn was sentenced to 10 years in prison and yet within a few months he died the death of a hero as an officer of the Bolivian army fighting for his “new motherland” in the Chaco war.

Elizabeth Sissi Gill gave a magistral talk on Thursday 3 June, watch and enjoy her presentation.

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