Cover photo for Milan Hauner's Obituary
Milan Hauner Profile Photo
1940 Milan 2022

Milan Hauner

March 4, 1940 — September 26, 2022


Milan L. Hauner passed away on September 26, 2022. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Magdalena Hauner, their three children, Katherina Hauner (Joel Voss) of Chicago, Anushka Refai (Daniel Refai) of Atlanta, and Thomas Hauner (Erica Cerulo) of New York City, by grandchildren Panthea Refai, Daria Refai, Roya Refai, Illyria Hauner, and Aion Voss. He is also survived by his two nieces, Andrea Haunerova (Johnny Gratz) and Renata Katz (Michael Katz), their children (Felix Gratz, Carolina Katz, and Sophia Katz), and his sisters-in-law Karla Pflueger and Jarmila Haunerova.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Vilem and Gertrud Hauner, his brother Roland Hauner, and his parents-in-law, Frantisek Slavik and Karla Slavikova.

Milan Hauner was born in Gotha (Germany) in 1940. Both his parents were deaf. The family moved to Prague in 1941, where Milan lived until 1968. Influenced by his grandfather and uncle, both executed by the Nazis, he became interested in history. In 1957 he entered Charles University, Prague, to study history and Czech language and literature. He completed his first Ph.D. there. In 1968 he left the country due to the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, and settled in England, on a scholarship from St. John’s College of the University of Cambridge. He  received his second Ph.D. there. After a research position at St. Antony's College at Oxford University, working on the economic history of Eastern Europe, Milan moved to London and worked in the Research Department of Amnesty International Headquarters. In 1976 he joined the German Historical Institute but left for the United States in 1980 where Magdalena was professor from 1979. Milan was granted a visiting lectureship, then an honorary fellowship affiliation with the Department of History. He also taught and conducted research at various universities in England (Warwick, L.S.E., Open University), Germany (Freiburg, Leipzig) and in America (Philadelphia, Berkeley, Hoover Institution at Stanford, Georgetown, Columbia, US Naval War College).

Research and writing was Milan’s lifelong passion. Among his major publications are India in  Axis Strategy (1981), Hitler Chronology (1983), What Is Asia To Us? Russia’s Asian Heartland Yesterday and Today (1990), three volumes of Memoirs 1938-45 (2007) of the former Czechoslovak president E. Beneš. In 2017 came out his original Czech version of Hitler’s life, Hitler den po dni  (Hitler day after day). At the time of his death, he was the author and co-editor of ten books and more than 100 scholarly articles, published in English, German, Czech, and French, on the modern history of India, Central Asia, Czechoslovakia, Germany, and Russia.

Milan’s knowledge of eight languages (Czech, German, English, French, Italian, Russian, Latin, and some Polish) was legendary.

Milan’s family history, especially his deaf German mother’s ordeal in Hitler’s Germany, made him an ardent supporter of human rights issues, both in Communist-ruled Czechoslovakia of his youth, and later at Amnesty International and beyond.

Milan was a life-long sports enthusiast. He biked from Czechoslovakia to Bulgaria, through Scotland and Ireland, in France and Germany. He was an accomplished swimmer with a daily swimming routine.  He skied in winter and canoed in summer. His inquiring mind and unbounded curiosity encompassed everything from people, history and transportation (he was a dedicated – and knowledgeable - railway enthusiast), to literature, from which he enjoyed quoting passages in the original, music, from folk songs to Bach’s cantatas, art (he was a great amateur painter), architecture, butterflies, to Easter egg making.

Despite his many accomplishments, Milan regarded his children as his proudest achievement. His family will forever be grateful to him for his passion for life, and for the Life of the Mind in particular.

A Celebration of Milan’s life will take place on Sunday November 20, 2022 at 2:30-4pm at the First Unitarian Society Meeting House, 900 University Bay Drive, Madison, WI 53705. (Frank Lloyd Wright building in Shorewood opposite the University Hospital.)  Another Celebration will be held in the Czech Republic in 2023.

Milan supported many charitable institutions. Perhaps you might consider a contribution to Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, Wisconsin Public Radio, or PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) Wisconsin.

Please share your memories at

Cress Center

6021 University Ave. Madison

(608) 238-8406

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Milan Hauner, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life Gathering

Sunday, November 20, 2022

2:30 - 4:00pm (Central time)

First Unitarian Meeting House


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