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Home » Nieuws » Our dear friend Wolfgang (1962-2024) passed away

Our dear friend Wolfgang (1962-2024) passed away

Wolfgang Johan Thürauf is no longer with us. He was a remarkable individual and a devoted fan of James Bond. I had the privilege of knowing him since 2006, and he was a dear friend to me. Wolfgang was highly esteemed within the Bond community, and his passion for all things related to James Bond was evident to everyone who knew him.

In 2006, Merlijn Kuiper and I embarked on the journey of founding James Bond Nederland, a passion project that continues to thrive today. Our venture began in November 2006, coinciding with our attendance at the premiere of Casino Royale in London. It would be more accurate to say that we stood outside the gates of Leicester Square during the premiere. It was there that I met Wolfgang, and our friendship was instant.

Personal life

Wolfgang was born on April 29th, 1962, in Bagdad, Iraq. His father had a job that required its presence in the Arabic country. Wolfgang pursued a career as an official in the financial department of the city of Frankfurt. Over time, he found his job less fulfilling, particularly as the process of digitalization swept through the department. Wolfgang confided in me about the challenges he faced, especially with the transition from paper-based filing systems to digital archives. Despite the chaos in the archives, he remained dedicated to his work and eventually reached retirement age.

The love of theatre and performance was, besides his primary passion for James Bond, a significant aspect of Wolfgang’s life. We often conversed about his experiences with the theatre association, Erstes Anspacher Kulturtheater. This year, the village of Neu-Anspach, Germany celebrates its 750th anniversary, and Wolfgang was actively involved in planning and organizing theatre performances for the occasion, something he cherished deeply. Regrettably, he wasn’t able to participate in and commemorate this milestone in the village where he had spent his entire life.

A true passion called James Bond

Wolfgang’s enthusiasm for James Bond preceded mine by quite some time, but that never hindered us from sharing our passion. We crossed paths numerous times at various locations across Europe, from London to Switzerland, Rotterdam, Frankfurt, and even places like Hamburg and Paris. His warmth and friendliness were constants during our encounters, a trait that resonates with many of us in the Bond community. Wolfgang embodied the quintessential German, always ready to extend a helping hand.

In 1997, Wolfgang founded BondKlub Deutschland, and the club’s magazine, NullNullSieben, remains a cherished possession of my friend Anders Frejdh. Subsequently, in 2014, the James Bond Club Deutschland was established, with Wolfgang assuming the role of vice president. Alongside President Andreas Pott and their team, Wolfgang dedicated himself to organizing events, producing magazines, and much more.

Bond friends

I have fond memories of numerous occasions where Wolfgang and I enjoyed catching up, discussing all things Bond, and sharing our experiences in life. Our conversations would often stretch for hours as we delved into the films, his admiration for the actors, actresses, and the talented individuals behind the scenes. Wolfgang’s collection of photos and autographs with these icons was extensive, so much so that I lost track of the exact count. And let me assure you, he eagerly shared many of them with me!

My initial encounter with Wolfgang dates back almost twenty years ago. However, the first photograph in my existing archive capturing our meeting is from the JBCD event “Bond over Nederland” in 2014. That day remains a cherished memory filled with laughter and camaraderie. We explored the Designing 007 exhibition at Kunsthal Rotterdam, enjoyed a delightful lunch, and shared many laughs. In the photograph, you can see Wolfgang, myself, Johan Antens, Merlijn Kuiper, Morten Steingrimsen, Remmert van Braam (Bond Lifestyle), and another member of the club at the Douwe Egberts cafe, posing in front of one of the Citroën 2CVs featured in For Your Eyes Only (1981).

Meeting on a Swiss alp

In early August 2015, Schilthorn Piz Gloria unveiled its Bond World 007 exhibition, later renamed Spy World. Johan and our mutual Belgian friend, Nathalie Cloet, embarked on a journey from the Netherlands and Belgium, respectively, to attend the event. As we were about to board the cable car to ascend to the summit, we were greeted by a familiar hearty laugh and voice—it was Wolfgang. His presence added to the excitement of the day, and he shared with us details about the gala opening, which had George Lazenby in attendance.

The next photograph captures our time together in the cable car. During our visit to Schilthorn Piz Gloria, we noticed a significant presence of Chinese tourists, as they were quite numerous. It seems they frequently include this destination as a stop on their bus tours around Europe.

We lost sight of Wolfgang as the cable car reached the station. While waiting, I engaged in conversation with my fellow Bond enthusiasts, including Markus Hartmann (President of James Bond Club Schweiz), Anders Frejdh, and Ajay Chowdhury (a longtime friend of both Wolfgang and myself). Additionally, I had a brief encounter with George himself, adding to the excitement of the day.

Following a delightful lunch with fellow Bond aficionados, we proceeded to visit Bond World 007. After some time, Wolfgang made his entrance into the room. Ever cheerful, he promptly placed a German club cap on the head of a cardboard cut-out of Diana Rigg, much to everyone’s amusement. I seized the opportunity to capture this lighthearted moment in the two subsequent photos. Who says Germans lack a sense of humor?

Trips to London and Frankfurt

The thought of visiting London always lingers in my mind, especially after the memorable experience in November 2022 when I attended Skyfall in Concert with Merlijn and a close friend of ours. The anticipation was palpable as it marked my first visit to the renowned Royal Albert Hall. The event drew numerous aficionados from the Bond fan community, including Remmert, Ajay, Anders, and of course, Wolfgang. It was an unforgettable evening filled with engaging conversations, the mesmerizing performance by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and, as always, plenty of refreshing beer. The running joke of the night was Wolfgang’s decision to paint his hair black, adding a playful touch to his impeccable appearance in a well-cut smoking and patent leather shoes. He certainly looked the part and contributed to the evening’s jovial atmosphere.

Another memorable occasion for a meetup occurred during the day with John Glen in Frankfurt back in 2019. It was Gosse Drent’s first Bond event, and Andreas suggested we have lunch with John and his delightful wife at the Flemings Hotel. To our pleasant surprise, Wolfgang was there in his role as Vice President, extending a warm welcome to all of us with open arms.

Wolfgang told us a lot about John Glen and his love for Bond. I must share these lovely photos by Sascha Braun of Fotostudio Sascha Braun.

Such a loss

Wolfgang was one of the kindest individuals I’ve ever known. We shared lengthy discussions about Bond, our personal lives, and the things that truly mattered. He was a significant influence within the Bond fan community, and his absence will be deeply felt. I already miss him greatly, and I’m sure I can’t be the only one. However, finding solace in the multitude of messages flooding social media yesterday has been a source of strength. It’s evident that Wolfgang was cherished by many, and that’s how we’ll remember him. We’ve bid farewell to a legend of the Bond fandom.

Wolfgang passed away at the age of 61, in his home in Neu-Anspach.

Jorrit van der Valk

Grondlegger van James Bond Nederland in 2006. Heeft als doel Nederlandse en Vlaamse 007-liefhebbers van James Bond nieuws te voorzien. Jorrit maakt graag videoproducties voor James Bond Nederland en heeft een passie voor de geheim agent. Zijn favoriete film is The World Is Not Enough, de eerste Bond-film die hij in de bioscoop zag.

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