Poland's then-resident Aleksander Kwasniewski (left) presents the Officer's Order of Merit to Israel Gutman at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem, on January 10, 1999
Poland's then-resident Aleksander Kwasniewski (left) presents the Officer's Order of Merit to Israel Gutman at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem, on January 10, 1999 © Menahem Kahana - AFP/File
Poland's then-resident Aleksander Kwasniewski (left) presents the Officer's Order of Merit to Israel Gutman at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem, on January 10, 1999
AFP
Last updated: October 2, 2013

Israel Gutman, Holocaust historian and survivor, dies

One of the most important historians of the Holocaust and a survivor of the Nazi death camps, Israel Gutman, died Tuesday, aged 90, the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem said.

Professor Gutman, born in Warsaw in 1923, took part in the 1943 revolt against the Nazis in the Polish capital's Jewish ghetto and was deported to the Auschwitz death camp.

Having survived Auschwitz, he immigrated to then British-held Palestine in 1946 and began his studies in history, doing his doctorate about the Jewish resistance in the Warsaw ghetto.

Gutman testified at the Jerusalem trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in 1961, and was a founder of the Yad Vashem International Institute for Holocaust Research in Jerusalem, dedicated to the memory and study of genocide.

He also advised the Polish government on Jewish affairs, Judaism and Holocaust commemoration, and was a member of the board of the Holocaust Museum in Washington.

Gutman left a major mark on the historiography of the period, notably penning an encyclopedia on the Holocaust.

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said Gutman's personal experiences of the horrors of the Holocaust "added an enormous weight to his rare and exceptional strength as a researcher, teacher and leader."

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