Claus Wittich

Claus Wittich died October 14, 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland, at the age of 89. Born in Darmstadt, Germany in 1932, he came to America to marry his first wife, Elisabeth (Betsy) Wittich, in 1955. He joined the Class of ’58 in 1956, while Betsy was taking her masters degree in education at Yale, graduating in 1958. Their first child, Katarina (Kato) Wittich was born in 1957, while they were both still students, and is Yale Class of ’78. Three more children followed, Marcus in 1959, Hannah in 1961 and Julia in 1963.

After graduating Yale in 1958, Claus earned his Master of Philosophy degree from Columbia University. Claus spent his professional life as an economist focusing on comparative economic systems, teaching and research. After a stint teaching economics at USC in Los Angeles, he moved to NYC to work in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. In 1981 he moved to Geneva to head the Foreign Trade Section at the Economic Analysis Division of the UN Economic Commission for Europe. From 1986 until his retirement in 1993 he also served as Deputy Director of the division and lead the research on planned economies of (ex-)Soviet Union and Eastern Europe for the UNECE. While in retirement, he was recalled for duty over several periods between 1993 and 1997.

Claus was proud to be a co-editor of a definitive 3-volume work on Max Weber with his lifelong friend and colleague Guenther Roth: Economy and Society. An Outline of Interpretive Sociology.

Betsy died in 1991 and Claus remarried his colleague Vitalija Gaucaite Wittich in 2000. Until late in his life, Claus continued pursuing his interest in history, including that of economic thought and sociology.

He was dearly loved by his family, and his keen mind and deep curiosity will be very much missed by his many friends. He is survived by his wife Vitalija, his remaining siblings, Marianne and Barbara, his surviving children, Kato, Marcus and Julia and four grandchildren.