Klaus and Eva Herlitz
Klaus and Eva Herlitz are German businesspeople, living in Berlin. They are married since 1972 and they have three sons.
Klaus Herlitz (born 1947 in Berlin) and Eva Herlitz (born 1952 in Solingen) are the initiators of the United Buddy Bears activities. In Berlin 2002, the idea was born to motivate as many countries acknowledged by the United Nations as possible to select an artist - with the result that more than 148 artists have designed a large Budddy Bear (2 meters tall) so far. Each bear is an artistic expression of the individual country. These bears are placed next to each other in a large circle - generally in alphabetical order - as a unique synthesis of the arts.
One important prerequisite for this international unifying project is to choose artists from the individual countries - for the circle to reflect the diversity of the cultures of "one world". The observer learns about the culture, the history, the people and the landscape of the individual countries - large or small. Hence the United Buddy Bears circle has become a platform for even the smallest and poorest countries which frequently remain unnoticed. Suddenly, they are equal to larger and often rich nations.
The circle - representing The Art of Tolerance with its symbolism of love, peace and friendship - has been presented on all five continents in over 30 metropolises of this world - always in the very heart of the cities. The bears have been displayed at the following Stations since the beginning of the tour in 2002: Berlin (Germany), Kitzbuehel (Austria), Hong Kong, Istanbul (Turkey), Tokyo (Japon), Seoul (South Korea), Sydney (Australia), Vienna (Austria), Cairo (Egypt), Jerusalem (Israel), Warsaw (Poland), Stuttgart (Germany), Pyongyang (North Korea), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Montevideo (Uruguay), Astana (Kazakhstan), Helsinki (Finland), Sofia (Bulgaria), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), New Delhi (India), Saint Petersburg (Russia), Paris (France), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
Admission to the exhibition is always free of charge. The number of visitors has often exceeded 1 million.
As soon as a country decides to commission a new Buddy Bear, the predecessor is sold at an auction in aid of UNICEF or other child relief organizations all over the world. So far, over EUR 2,000,000 (since 2002 till 2014) have been raised at auctions in various cities of the world.
Eva Herlitz, together with several international artists, founded in Berlin in 2004 Buddy Bear Help, a children's aid organisation. The organisation guarantees that 100 per cent of the donations and auction revenues from charity activities is used for the selected children's projects. All organisational and administrative costs are borne by the club members.
On 1 October 2013, Eva and Klaus Herlitz received one of Berlin's most respected distinctions: the Verdienstorden des Landes Berlin (Merit of the State of Berlin), for outstanding service to the state.
- Herlitz, Eva and Klaus, Buddy Bear Berlin Show. NeptunArt Publisher, 2001. ISBN 3-85820-152-9
- Herlitz, Eva and Klaus, United Buddy Bears - Die Kunst der Toleranz. Bostelmann & Siebenhaar Publishers, 2003. ISBN 3-936962-00-6
- Herlitz, Eva and Klaus, United Buddy Bears - World Tour. NeptunArt Publisher, 2006. ISBN 3-85820-189-8
- Herlitz, Eva and Klaus: United Buddy Bears - The Art of Tolerance, 384 pages, English/German, 2009, ISBN 978-3-00-029417-4.
- Herlitz, Klaus: Die Buddy Bären und der schneeweisse Elefant, a German children's book, illustrated by Manon Kahle. December 2010, ISBN 978-3-00-032739-1.
- Herlitz, Eva: Buddy Bear Colouring Book, colouring book, illustrated by Anja Boje, 16 pages. May 2011, ISBN 978-3-00-034225-7.