Paul van Marx was born in Amsterdam on January 24, 1926. His mother was Dutch and his father German. The whole family emigrated to the United States at the outbreak of World War II. From 1940 to 1944, he attended the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, and in 1944 Paul van Marx became a naturalized U.S. citizen. Paul had a very broad upbringing, and as an adult he spoke six languages fluently - Dutch, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. He also had some knowledge of Russian.
In June 1944 at the age of eighteen, he returned to Europe with the U.S. Army. In the months after the end of the war, Paul was put in charge of the security of an entire German village -this at the tender age of nineteen. In recent years, he said he felt the responsibilities he had as a soldier during and after the war taught him so much of value, at an early point in life.
Having obtained an "Honorable Discharge" from the army as a Second Lieutenant in 1946 (Paul received a good conduct medal and World War II victory medal), he enrolled at Yale University, where he majored in Political Science. After graudation, Paul studied law at Columbia University in New York, but even during his Yale years he had summer jobs in places as far apart as Switzerland and Bogota, Colombia. Paul proceeded to join the U.S. Foreign Service and worked for over 26 years in Vienna, Paris, Zurich, Bern, Rome, Washington and Bogota, Colombia. In Frankfurt, Germany in 1954, Paul married Carla Ambro de Adamocz and their daugther Marilou was born in 1961. After his retirement in 1978, he took up the arts of furniture restoration and bookbinding, which he pursued with great vigor on a daily basis. According to his daugther Marilou, Paul was "interested in everything - he read an awful lot, and was always enthusiastic about everything. He was probably the most positive person I have known. He rarely got mad - and when he did he was right and fair about the issue at hand. I never knew him to sit still - literally. He just loved people".
Without doubt these were some of the qualities which led Paul van Marx to track Hobart Earle all the way to his room in the Krasnaya Hotel in Odessa in April 1994, and he went to the trouble of doing this simply after reading an article in the "Herald Tribune". Single-handedly, Paul went on to form the "Swiss Friends of the Odessa Philharmonic Orcherstra" and the "American Friends of the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra". For the last three years of his life, his work on behalf of the orchestra was as tireless - and as selfless - as everything else he did in his rich and diverse life.
This is a quote from the text the priest read at Paul's burial: "Allow me to say something about Paul van Marx the human being, for the quality of a person's heart is more important than any external elements of their life history! All of us gathered here today know that Paul was an extremely appealing and thoroughly respectable person. He always took great initiative in taking care of other people, both throughout his career as a diplomat and during his retirement - and he took care of them with a high level of competence, beginning with his own close relatives and those of his wife, and continuing to people further away in other countries. Quietly, he did a great deal of good; helping not only many elderly people but also those of younger generations, including children in particular. He was an excellent source of advice. He could find a solution for even the most difficult of problems. He was an idealist".
"Lassen Sie mich auch ein paar Worte uber den Menschen Paul van Marx sagen. Denn wichtiger als alle äusseren Lebensdaten ist die Qualität des Herzens! Alle, die sich heute hier versammelt haben, wissen, dass Paul ein überaus netter; grundanständiger Mensch war: Schon während seiner diplomatischen Tätigkeit, aber noch vermehrt seit seiner Pensionierung hat er sich mit grossem Einsatz und viel Kompetenz um andere Menschen gekümmert - angefangen bei seinen eigenen Verwandten und den Familienangehörigen seiner Frau his hin zu ihm fernerstehenden Menschen in anderen Ländem. Er hat im stillen viel Gutes getan; viele älteren Menschen hat er geholfen, aber auch um Junge und Jungste, auch um Kinder hat er sich gemüht. Er war ein ausgezeichneter Ratgeber: Auch fur schwierige Probleme wusste er eine Losung. Er war ein Idealist ".