Remak was born in 1916 into a Jewish family in Germany. He left Nazi Germany at the age of 20 in 1936 to reside in Bloomington. The YMCA program found him a Jewish fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu, where he could stay for free, and the rest of his family soon followed, just escaping the Holocaust.
Without having any way to pay for his education, Remak visited former IU President William Lowe Brian and asked if he could be a student free of charge. Brian, who grew fond of Remak, let him receive the education he sought.
Remak was professor emeritus of comparative literature and Germanic and Western European Studies. Never using e-mail – just a typewriter – and not having driven a car since the 1960s, those who knew him said Remak found joy in life’s simple things.
When Remak retired in 1987, he was still very much involved in the intellectual atmosphere of IU, said William Rasch, chair of Germanic studies.
After Remak’s retirement, he voluntarily taught in the Hutton Honors College.