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Humanitarian Edmond Kaiser Dies

March 5, 2000

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) _ Edmond Kaiser, a humanitarian activist who founded several international organizations that campaign on behalf of children, has died. He was 86.

Kaiser died Saturday in India following an illness, said Yvan Muriset, vice president of Sentinelles, one of Kaiser’s charities. He did not give the exact cause of death.

Born to a Jewish family in Paris in 1914, Kaiser worked with the French resistance during the war, and was condemned to death by the Nazis for his actions. He survived and moved to Switzerland in 1947.

Kaiser formed the organization Terre des Hommes in Lausanne in 1959, which operations across the globe to help children facing poverty, illness and war.

``If someone is crying on the ground, we try to pick them up, just like we would care for an injured bird, love it and then help it fly again,″ said Kaiser in a newspaper interview on his 80th birthday in 1994.

Kaiser was a close friend of Bernard Kouchner, the current U.N. administrator in Kosovo who founded Doctors without Borders, which received last year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Kouchner _ then a French government minister _ named Kaiser the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1990, but Kaiser turned the honor down.

``Sitting in the middle of dead or suffering Biafran children, out with the children of Vietnam whose skin has been peeled away by napalm, it would be as if I found it normal to be honored for their martyrdom,″ he said.

Kaiser also wrote several books on music and poetry.

It was not known why Kaiser was in India, but Muriset said it was his wish to be buried in a simple grave wherever he happened to die. Details of survivors were not immediately available.

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