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By Helmut Werner

Since the invention of ferrocene and the sandwich-type complexes, the advance of organometallic chemistry took its path like an avalanche and have become one of many clinical luck tales of the second one 1/2 the 20th century. in response to this improvement, the conventional obstacles among inorganic and natural chemistry steadily disappeared and a rebirth of the these days hugely very important box of homogeneous catalysis happened. it really is reasonable to claim that even though the main discovery, which sparked all of it off, was once made greater than 50 years in the past, organometallic chemistry continues to be a tender and vigorous discipline.

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The saddest day of my childhood was the 3rd of July 1947 when my mother died. In November 1946 my father had been released as a prisoner but when he returned from West Siberia to Mu¨hlhausen he was very ill. In the following weeks both my mother and my grandmother did their best to help him regain his physical and mental composure. His experience as a Russian POW as well as his expulsion from the new communist dominated city council were a heavy burden for him. However, in early summer 1947 he seemed to have partly recovered and began to help my grandmother in her shop.

The second aspect was completely different. It was a pure accident that in spring 1959 I met a group of young refugees from Jena who gathered once every month at a bar in Mu¨nchen. At one of these gatherings I met Gu¨nter Rahm, who at Jena played in the premier soccer league and had left East Germany shortly after me. Gu¨nter was also a good lawn-tennis player and although I had no experience in this type of sports, I started playing tennis with him. In autumn 1959 and spring 1960 we played nearly every Saturday and after the match usually went to his flat and had breakfast or lunch.

A few hours after the surgery had been performed, Fischer visited me. I was relieved indeed when he said that after leaving the hospital I should continue with my work as intended. Despite my ‘‘bloody’’ start, Ernst Otto Fischer did his best in the following weeks to integrate me in his research group and to make me feel comfortable Fig. 4 The First Years at Mu¨nchen 27 in my new environment. Although he was a full blooded Bavarian with no relatives in East Germany, he seemed to be very interested in the political situation in the East and, particularly, in the attitude of the people who after 12 years of the Nazi regime now suffered again under the communist dictatorship.

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