Eulogy for Georg Hoeltl

It is with great sadness that we must report the death in October of Georg Hoeltl, the founder and owner of the Passau Glass Museum. He was 88 years old.

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Hoeltl was a successful entrepreneur in several fields of activity, but to collectors of Bohemian glass his magnificent glass museum in Passau must rank as his crowning achievement.

In 1945, immediately after WW2 ended in Europe, the 17-year-old Hoeltl obtained a bus from the Allies and started a commercial service from his home in Tittling to and from Passau, 14 miles away. In 1952, he founded the company Hoeltl-Auto-Reisen, offering bus tours to Italy and France, including to Rome, Assisi and Lourdes. His guests had to spend their nights in tents sleeping in all weathers so, in 1959, Hoeltl invented and patented a trailer containing tiered sleeping berths. This was the start of Rotel Tours; Hoeltl's vast fleet of so-called 'rolling hotels' today offers a total of 3,500 tourist berths and visits 150 countries. In 1973, Hoeltl built the Hotel Dreiburgensee in Tittling, and then bought 50 old Bavarian Forest farmhouse which were scheduled for demolition and turned them into a Museum Village which is now a major tourist attraction in the area. Between 1979 and 1980, Hoeltl bought four adjoining patrician houses in Passau, including the former Hotel Wilder Mann, to house his glass collection. The museum was opened in 1985 by Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. Hoeltl built another Passau hotel, the Rotel Inn, in 1993; this remarkable building takes the architectural form of a reclining man.

In 2000, Georg Hoeltl handed over the reins of his businesses to his son Peter, but continued himself to manage the glass museum right up to his final illness.

During our many visits to Passau Glass Museum, most of the members of the Loetz.com Advisory Group had the honour of meeting Georg Hoeltl. He took his time not only to give us personal tours of his museum, but also to share with us  his evident passion for collecting and preserving the history of this glass.

The world has lost a fascinating personality, Lower Bavaria an esteemed citizen, and the world of Bohemian Glass a true champion.

Our deepest sympathy goes to his family.

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