Monique Montaigne

Monique Montaigne

AMENIA — Monique Montaigne, 84, a resident of Amenia, died on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024, at the Hudson Valley Hospice House in Hyde Park, New York.

Born on April 9, 1939, in Berlin, Germany, she was the daughter of the late Heinz and Anita “Gutermann” Sauest. Monique’s biological father was an officer who died in a bomb attack in Berlin in 1943.

Her mother, “Anna Marie” Anita Gutermann, heiress of the Nahse Company, Gutermann remarried the conductor Herbert Von Karajan from 1942-1958.

After the war, Monique worked as a mannequin for fur fashion and took acting lessons in Salzburg. Monique took the last name Ahrens and made two notable films, “A Dog in Flanders” and “The Singing Nun.” In 1960 she worked as a television announcer and her photo was released on the cover of the magazine “Stern.”

In 1962 she also tried her hand at becoming a singer and released the singles “And My” and “The Sun Moon and Stars.” During the 1980’s, she lived in New York City working for the pianist, Yefim Bronfman and Sherril Milnes, the opera singer, as personal secretary, and in Mr. Bronfmans case, project and design manager on his apartment remodel. After 20 years she moved to the small town of Amenia where she worked as a typist and secretary to former town supervisor Victoria Perotti.

Monique felt very grateful to have found good friends in a community that embraced her. She especially loved to cook and gift food to her friends and she loved the Amenia Library.

She is survived by her daughter, Jessica Montaigne of Venice, California, and her granddaughter Lilianna.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Amenia Library, PO Box 27, Amenia, New York, 12501.

To send the family condolence, please visit

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