In Memoriam: Ilsedore Barkow Jonas, 1920-2021

Ilsedore Barkow Jonas, known as “Doris,” professor emerita of modern languages at Cernegie Mellon University, died last fall in Munich, Germany. She was 101 years old.

Professor Jonas was a native of Stettin, Germany, which is now now part of Poland. She earned a degree in language translation at the University of Heidelberg.

Throughout the Second World War, Jonas continued her studies in Berlin, Munich, and Würzburg. Jonas and her husband married in 1945 and soon emigrated to Switzerland. They arrived in the United States in 1948. Her husband joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh and soon after she joined the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University. There, she earned a Ph.D. in German in 1967.

Professor Jonas’ academic work centered on the study of Thomas Mann. She worked closely with her husband on the five-volume definitive bibliography of Thomas Mann’s works and all secondary works written about him. An English volume was later released under both of their names. She was the author of Thomas Mann and Italy (University of Alabama Press, 1979). Dr. Jonas retired from teaching at Carnegie Mellon in 1988 and moved back to Germany.

In 2020, the department of modern languages at Carnegie Mellon University established the Ilsedore B. Jonas Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement in German Studies. The award is presented annually to the German studies student with the highest grade point average.

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