It is our sad duty to report that our colleague and former department head Michael S. Batts passed away on January 16, 2014. After completing a BA with Honours at King’s College, London (1953), and a Ph.D. at the Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg (1957), he held positions in Mainz, Basel, Würzburg and Berkeley before joining UBC’s Department of German Studies in 1959. He was department head from 1968 to 1980. Under his leadership the department’s status increased further and it became recognized as one of the most significant in the country. An avid bibliographer and life-long bibliophile, he was instrumental in building up the German library at UBC and in 1974 earned a Master of Library Science degree at UBC. He retired in 1994 but remained an active presence on campus for many years on.
Michael was an internationally recognized medievalist whose critical parallel edition of the Nibelungenlied manuscripts (Synoptische Ausgabe, 1971) remains a key resource for researchers, as do his subsequent publications on the history of Germanistik, including the 1978 Bibliography of German Literature: an Historical and Critical Survey. He was President of the Canadian Association of University Teachers of German (CAUTG), the editor of Seminar from 1970 to 1980, and the 1989 recipient of the prestigious Boeschenstein medal awarded by the CAUTG. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and from 1990 to 1995 President of the International Association of Germanists for which he organized the international conference at UBC in 1995.