Paul Brietzke was a multifaceted man who loved photography, music and travel. His knowledge of international law inspired hundreds of students and helped shape policy around the world.
“Paul Brietzke approached law not as a series of abstract rules, but as a series of human narratives. He was deeply grounded in anthropological and sociological understanding of human experience in community,” said Ed Gaffney, his colleague at the Valparaiso University School of Law. “This commitment as a scholar made him one of the finest of our professors.”
Paul Brietzke, 68, of Valparaiso, died Jan. 2. He taught at Valparaiso University School of Law for 34 years. He also taught at University of Malawi, Haile Selasse University in Ethiopia and Brunel University in the United Kingdom.
He was Fulbright Professor of Law at schools in Vietnam and Malaysia. He had written more than 60 books and articles on a wide range of topics.
Brietzke traveled extensively and made friends around the world, Gaffney said.
“He was at home in three other continents, with deep friendships in Europe, Asia and Africa. But at heart, he was a passionate American,” Gaffney said. “He loved his country well enough to be committed to reversing its three greatest mistakes: racism, sexism and contempt for the indigenous people who were here before our ancestors got here.”
Ivan Bodensteiner, his colleague at the law school, said people admired him for the way he stood up for what he believed in.
“He was never afraid to give his viewpoint on matters, and they were always well-informed views,” he said.
Brietzke loved music, travel and photography, said his wife, Susan Adams.
“He had no shortage of subject matter for his photography,” she said. “He never lost his passion for travel and seeing new places.”
He considered it a privilege to be a teacher, she said.
“He touched a lot of students,” she said. “He loved to push them to think of things with a broader worldview.”
She said her husband would like to be remembered for the way he touched people’s lives, both here and abroad.
“He made a difference, and did it in small ways here and in the development of legal education abroad,” she said.