In Memoriam

On the occasion of the death of Christian Jaekl

The long-serving Canadian political correspondent of the “New Zurich News”, Christian Jaekl, died of heart failure last Thursday, in his 76th year. Mr. Jaekl reported on Canadian politics for a quarter century with an intensity that is hardly ever seen anymore in the German-language Press.

This correspondent, born 1939 in Mährisch-Crostau (in the present-day Czech Republic), who appeared with the byline “cja.”, had studied jurisprudence in Vienna. He then worked as a speechwriter in the [Austrian] Federal Chancellery, before he entered the diplomatic corps in 1967 and was posted to the embassy in Ottawa. The originally-planned 6 months became 13 years. Then he returned to Vienna, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But soon he was drawn back to Ottawa, where he took up the task of political correspondent for the NZZ [New Zurich News] and taught at two universities.

Mr. Jaekl's Viennese charm was old-fashioned in the best possible way. His social graces, his treatment of the finer points of language, and his political analyses were always of the highest level. No Canadian politicians' feints escaped his razor-sharp investigation. He illuminated the long-running Quebec question with an unfailing sense of the boundary between the legitimate entitlements, and the less legitimate aspirations, of this francophone society in the North American sea of anglophones. With unusual knowledge, he accompanied our readers as they saw the federal Conservative party wane and then return to power. The history, and the political aspirations of Canada's aboriginal peoples were another topic that kept him busy; here also, Mr. Jaekl understood how to differentiate between legitimate and overreaching demands.

Generalizations were a foreign concept for Mr. Jaekl. Precision, incorruptibility, and a dose of irony were his trademarks. He never said anything in haste or rashly; for that reason, his analyses were highly trustworthy. The NZZ has lost a well-loved and competent colleague, who with his old-fashioned thoughtfulness reminded us time and again that hasty reporting is incompatible with fundamental understanding.

[Written in German by] Mr. Beat U. Wieser [Christian's editor at the NZZ]