Ian Karten, MBE

The papers of Ian Herman Karten, MBE (1920-2011) [MS 409 A4140] have recently been listed and are now available for research. Ian Karten was born in Vienna although to a family of Polish nationality.  At the age of 3 he moved to Duisburg in Germany where his father started a business.  Facing anti-Semitism at his German school, at 16 Karten was sent to a Jewish School in Cologne.  In 1938 he obtained a visa to come to England and studied Medical Engineering at Battersea College (now the University of Surrey).  He served in the RAF during World War Two.  At the end of the war he was assigned to an air disarmament unit which was set up to take over German airfields.


After the war, Karten worked with the RAF disarmament wing in Denmark and Germany

Almost all of Karten’s family died in the Holocaust including his father Israel, his brother Max, his sister Fanny and his grandfather Gedalia.  After the War, his mother Helen (Chanah) came to live with him in the UK.


Karten (front) with his siblings Fanny and Max

In 1946 Karten joined Multitone Electronic Ltd.  He managed to turn this company around becoming Managing Director, Chairman and the CEO.

Karten met Mildred Hart at an Anglo-Jewish Association gathering in the 1960s; they married at the Chelsea Affiliated Synagogue in December 1968.

Ian and Mildred's wedding

Ian and Mildred’s wedding

The Ian Karten Charitable Trust was created after Karten sold his share in Multitone Electronics.  Its was established as a grant-making trust in 1980 to offer educational opportunities to those in need.

In 1996 the Trustees decided to devote a substantial part of the Trust’s resources to the establishment of centres for disabled people to be known as Computer-Aided Training, Education and Communication (CTEC) Centres. The first CTEC Centre was established in 1997 in Berkshire.

Since the 1990s, the Parkes Institute for the study of Jewish/Non-Jewish Relations at the University of Southampton has been a benefactor of the Karten Trust with the endowment of a lectureship, a fellowship and most recently, a post in outreach work.

After being awarded his honorary degree from the University of Southampton

Karten in his University of Southampton degree robes

In 1998 Karten was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Southampton. In 1999 he was awarded an MBE for his ‘services to charity’.  In 2000 he was awarded an Honorary Degree from the University of Haifa.

The collection includes correspondence with lawyers concerning reparations for losses suffered during the Holocaust, an extensive photographic collection including many photographs of Karten and his family in Germany prior to the war, papers respecting Karten’s purchase of shares in Multitone Electric Company and commemorative photographs, certificates and objects respecting the CTEC Centres.  Please see our website to find out how to access this material.

The Ian and Mildred Karten Memorial Lecture is part of the Parkes Institute annual lecture series and has been named to honour the generosity and interest shown by Ian and Mildred in the Parkes Institute. This year’s lecture “Imagining the Jewish Past: writing The Wolf in the Water, a play about Jessica, Shylock’s daughter?” is being given by Naomi Alderman. It takes place on 10 May 2016.

4 responses to “Ian Karten, MBE

  1. Pingback: The development of Special Collections | University of Southampton Special Collections

  2. Pingback: 2016: Year in review | University of Southampton Special Collections

  3. Heinz Johannsen

    I work on the History of Tme of Occupation in Germany 1945- .. I would like to look at the Photos of Mr. Ian Karten from hes Time in Germany with 8302 Disarmament WING How is this possible ? best regards Heinz Johannsen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s