Gerd Winkelhane, November 18, 1949 — September 21, 2018, died after short illness.
Gerd Winkelhane’s relation with the PIAC was of a very special nature. He was not the typical scholar who came to the annual meetings to deliver his paper, have a chat with the PIAC members (and many chats he had) and depart; rather, his contribution was of a different nature. With his specialized scientific publishing house Klaus Schwarz Verlag he published a number of proceedings of the PIAC in recent years, as well as other publications, monographs and collections alike, by PIAC members.
His father had once hoped the young Gerd Winkelhane would follow his career path and become a medical doctor. Indeed, Gerd Winkelhane started studying medicine but abandoned this course and started studying Arabic. Having spent ten years in Yemen, he acquired a degree of fluency with and intimate knowledge of the language which, in combination with his teaching skills, made him a uniquely gifted teacher of the Arabic language, as the writer of these lines can testify from the numerous conversations we enjoyed when stumbling across subjects related to Arabic.
In 1989, Gerd Winkelhane became director of Klaus Schwarz Verlag after the sudden death of the founder, Klaus Schwarz. In many years of dedicated work, Gerd Winkelhane succeeded in developing a scientific publishing house with hundreds of publications covering the fields of Arabic studies, Iranian studies, Islamic studies, Turkology, Ottoman studies and Central Asian studies. Series like Studien zur Sprache, Geschichte und Kultur der Türkvölker have grown to comprise dozens of volumes. He was always closely involved in all these publications in various rôles, and more often than not he initiated publishing projects. Driven by genuine curiosity, he kept close contact with virtually all the authors whose works he published; his deep involvement in Turkology and Ottoman studies and his contributions to the field via his publishing activities made him, in the words of the late G. Hazai, a Turkologist honoris causa.
His wit and ease of conversation made him the joyful center of many social gatherings; family, friends and colleagues miss him dearly.
Yet, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
(from: Amazing Grace, sung at the funeral)
Oliver Corff, October 3rd, 2018.