I had just begun as a young PhD researcher at the European University Institute in Florence in 1981. I was walking one morning through the cloisters of the beautiful Badia Fiesolana, home to the EUI, when I bumped into a an older, distinguished-looking man, with a courteous smile and a strikingly luxuriant head of silver hair. He introduced himself as Max Kohnstamm, the outgoing President of the EUI. He asked me my thesis topic and we spoke for a while. It was only afterwards that I fully realised that I had been talking to one of those mythical figures, a Founding Father, for that was very much what Max Kohnstamm was. He is not be found among the names listed on this wikipedia entry but, nevertheless, Kohnstamm, who served (1952-1956) under Jean Monnet as the first Secretary General of the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community (forerunner to the European Commission), was very much ‘in at the creation’. I last saw him on 14 March 2007, when he addressed the European Economic and Social Committee’s commemorative plenary session on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Treaty of Rome (press release here). Strikingly lucid and cogent, Kohnstamm reminded his audience that Europe’s integration process was a model to the world.  The interview with him, here, is interesting also for his explicit recognition (frequently overlooked) of the role the Americans played, via the Marshall Plan, in encouraging Europeans to overcome their animosities and work together. Sadly, Max Kohnstamm passed away earlier today, and so a living link with the origins of the European Union has been lost. But the foundations he helped to build stand firm and are his greatest monument.