Germany is mourning the loss of author and journalist Sylke Tempel, who died in an accident during the powerful storm Xavier in Berlin on Thursday. Tempel was a frequent commentator on DW programs.
Sylke Tempel was the editor-in-chief of the journal Internationale Politik and a member of the board of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). In a statement, the council called her "an extraordinary person who influenced the debate on foreign policy in Germany and far beyond."
Tempel was one of Germany's sharpest policy experts. She was an enthusiastic, committed believer in the trans-Atlantic partnership, as well as a staunch supporter of Israel. According to the DGAP, she "helped many inside and outside Germany gain a better understanding of German foreign policy.
Frequent guest at DW
Her expertise made her a popular guest on programs at Deutsche Welle. Many DW employees knew her as a feisty political expert who could be counted on to shine with her knowledgeable contributions on both English and German language news shows. Tempel made frequent appearances on "Quadriga." Host Peter Craven remembers Tempel as someone who "was always able to explain things in the smallest detail without losing sight of the big picture."
DW presenter Christina Gerhäusser said that when she thinks of Sylke Tempel, she thinks of someone with "clarity, intelligence and humor." Many other DW employees were also saddened to learn of the death of a woman who always presented her opinions with conviction, yet was open to considering the views of others.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel called Tempel's death a "great loss for us in Germany and far beyond."
"Whoever followed Dr. Sylke Tempel's path over the years, her analysis and contribution to the discourse, could not help but greatly appreciate her clever and cordial view, subtlety and wit," Gabriel said.
Sylke Tempel was born in Bayreuth. She studied Political Science and Jewish Studies at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, and received a scholarship to conduct research in New York from 1989 to 1991. Tempel completed her Ph.D in Political Science, History and Jewish Studies from the University of the Armed Forces in Munich, where she worked with Professor Michael Wolffsohn, another regular contributor on German talk shows.
Journalist and academic
Tempel then went to Israel where she worked as a Middle East correspondent. She covered the Oslo peace process and the Intifada from Israel and the Palestinian territories. She worked for the Jüdische Allgemeine newspaper, the Austrian magazine Profil and the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel. Her journalistic experience, combined with her academic background, made her an extremely credible commentator. Tempel was also the author of several books for both young people and adults. She was a dedicated advocate for women's rights, serving as the chair of the German section of Women in International Security since 2014.
Sylke Tempel was 54 years old. On Thursday, she stepped out of her car during the powerful storm Xavier in Berlin to move debris. In the process, she was struck by a falling tree and killed. In the words of the DGAP: "We will miss a companion full of warmth, openness, dedication, and a good sense of humor."