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Author Rolf Magener Dies at 89

July 3, 2000

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ Rolf Magener, a German manager who chronicled his escape from a World War II British detention camp in India and his long trek through the jungles in an acclaimed 1955 book, has died after suffering complications from heart problems, his wife said Monday. He was 89.

Magener, who went on to become the financial manager of BASF chemical company, died May 5 at a Heidelberg hospital, Doris Magener said by telephone. He was buried May 10.

Born in Odessa, Russia on Aug. 3, 1910, Magener studied business economics at Exeter in England and Frankfurt completing his degree in 1935.

The same year he was hired by the I.G. Farben chemical company’s Berlin branch, and in 1938 was sent as their representative to Bombay, India. After the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Magener was arrested and interned in a camp at the foot of the Himalayas by the British.

He escaped from the camp in 1944, fleeing for months through the jungles of India and Burma before reaching Tokyo. His book on that escape ``Prisoner’s Bluff,″ won wide acclaim in the mid-1950s.

Magener returned to Germany after the war and worked from 1948 to 1955 for Deutschen Commerz GmbH in Frankfurt, then switched to BASF in Ludwigshafen where he was named the company’s sales director in 1958 and finance director in 1962.

``His great knowledge in economic areas, his language abilities, his negotiating skills, and his immense experience in international business were deciding factors in the success of the BASF group worldwide,″ the company said in a statement. He retired in 1974.

Magener is survived by his wife.

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