Middle East

Holocaust historian Israel Gutman dies in Jerusalem

Israel Gutman
Image caption Israel Gutman survived for nearly two years in a Nazi concentration camp

Prominent Holocaust historian Israel Gutman has died in Jerusalem, at the age of 90.

Born in Warsaw, Professor Gutman was wounded fighting the Nazis in the 1943 Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto.

He was arrested and subsequently spent two years in Nazi concentration camps.

He was a founder of the Yad Vashem International Institute for Holocaust Research, and an expert witness during the 1961 trial of the Nazi war criminal, Adolf Eichmann.

Israel Gutman was born in Warsaw in 1923, and during the wartime occupation of his city he joined the Jewish uprising, triggered by the Nazis' decision to send residents of the Warsaw Ghetto to concentration camps.

'Great leader'

While his parents and siblings died in the Ghetto, Israel Gutman was deported and survived for nearly two years in Nazi camps, including the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.

After the war, he went to live in what would soon after become the state of Israel, where he devoted himself to studying the Holocaust, and helping its survivors.

Gutman played prominent roles at Yad Vashem, including as the head of its international institute for Holocaust research, and as its chief historian for three years.

He edited the Encyclopaedia of the Holocaust.

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

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