The Queen’s community remembers Professor Emeritus Anna Matzov, who died on January 16. She was 88 years old.
Dr Matzov taught Russian language and literature at Queen’s for 30 years and was a recognized authority on Boris Pasternak (Dr Zhivago), and Mikhail Bakhtin and literary criticism.
Dr. Matzov was born in 1933 in Pinsk, Poland (now Pinsk, Belarus) and grew up under Stalin’s rule. Around the age of seven, his family was exiled to Siberia. Ironically, this exile likely saved their lives as the rest of his extended family in Poland tragically perished under Hitler.
In 1946, she and her family ended up in a displaced persons camp in Germany for four years where she began her secondary education. In 1950, the family immigrated to the new state of Israel. Dr. Matzov embraced his new country and his new life, quickly mastering Hebrew (his fifth of six languages). After serving in the army, she obtained her first degree in 1956 (physics, mathematics and statistics) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She followed her passion for teaching, earning her teaching degree a few years later.
In 1967, Dr. Matzov, her husband and young family immigrated to Canada, settling in Kingston in 1968 where she embarked on a new career path. In 1970, she earned an Honors BA (Russian and Mathematics) from Queen’s University, followed by an MA (1973) and Ph.D. (1984) in Slavic Studies from the University of Ottawa.
Soon after, she was hired at Queen’s and while there introduced Scientific Russian, an innovative course she taught at Queen’s and the Royal Military College.
Throughout her distinguished academic career, Dr. Matzov taught and contributed to professional literature and was a member of learned societies. His teaching has attracted and inspired students from many disciplines.
A fiercely independent thinker, Dr. Matzov was a pragmatic optimist with a warm heart and an inquiring mind. Her personal trials and tribulations, from wars to health issues, have strengthened her resolve and resilience to make the best of things. “You never get bored” she often said. Enlightened and passionate about learning, she was an inspiration, catalyst and cheerleader to many. She had a genuine interest in people of all ages and backgrounds, forging many friendships throughout her life. She found comfort in her family and friends. She was drawn to the many expressions of creativity, from art, music and literature to teaching, cooking and developing young minds.
Dr. Matzov valued family, friendship, loyalty, authenticity, originality, open-mindedness and a good soul. She strived – and succeeded – to inspire many minds and hearts to be at our best and get the most out of life. She never stopped expanding her mind – she was truly “an amazing work in progress”.