In Memoriam: Prof. Emeritus Heinz Wetzel

In Memoriam: Prof. Emeritus Heinz Wetzel

It is with great sadness that we bid farewell to Prof. Emeritus Heinz Wetzel, who passed away on Saturday, March 25, 2017, in Ottawa.

Prof. Heinz Wetzel was born in Ziesar, Germany, and fled from East Germany to West Berlin at the age of 16. After extensive studies, he moved to France with his wife, Marianne Wetzel and their young son, Andreas. He was a Professor of German Literature in Lille, France, which was also the birthplace of their second child, Suzanne. Following a professorial appointment in the USA, Heinz Wetzel and his family settled in Toronto, where their third child, Claudia, was born.

Heinz Wetzel was a Professor of German at the University of Toronto for over 35 years, and served as Chair of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures from 1980-85. In the course of his career, he published a wide range of academic articles and scholarly books in several areas of specialization. He authored important works on the poetry of Georg Trakl, among them the monograph Klang und Bild in den Dichtungen Georg Trakls (1972) and also wrote on the poet Heinrich Heine and dramatist Georg Büchner, among others. Well-known in his field, Heinz Wetzel served as editor of the scholarly journal, Seminar, from 1980-85. Heinz Wetzel was also a respected teacher and the recipient of teaching awards during his tenure at the University of Toronto. Generous with his time, he was a mentor to many students and younger colleagues.

In later life, Heinz Wetzel took to writing historical novels. In 2010 he published Auf nach Hellas, a story centered on the experiences of a freedom fighter in the Greek War of Independence in the 1820s. Wo die Bäume im Wasser stehn, a second work of historical fiction, this time with a German-Canadian theme, appeared in 2013.

Dr. Wetzel was a very energetic and curious person, always wanting to discover new corners of the world. He and his wife travelled widely, always in pursuit of new experiences and eager to meet new people and explore different cultures.

Heinz Wetzel will be very much missed by his wife of 60 years, Marianne, his children and his five grandchildren, all of whom enjoyed listening to his many, entertaining stories.

He will also be truly missed in the scholarly circles to which he contributed so much as a committed academic, inspired teacher, and valued colleague.

Funeral Services will be held on April 11th, at Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa

Visitation 10-11am, Service at 11am