JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel Gutman, who survived the Nazi atrocities of World War II and dedicated his life to researching the Holocaust, has died. He was 90.
Estee Yaari, spokeswoman for the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, said Gutman died in his sleep late on Monday in Jerusalem.
Gutman was born in Warsaw in 1923. He was wounded during fighting in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1943 when a few hundred poorly armed Jews put up resistance to Nazi troops who were rounding up residents and sending them to death camps.
His parents and siblings died in the Ghetto while Gutman was incarcerated in two concentration camps as well as the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.
After the war, he moved to Israel where he helped survivors and devoted himself to studying the Holocaust. He served in several prominent capacities at Yad Vashem, including chief historian and head of its international research institute.
In 1961, he testified in the trial of Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann who had been nabbed by Mossad agents in Argentina the year before and brought to Jerusalem.
Yad Vashem described Gutman as a “trailblazing historian.” Chairman Avner Shalev said his insight as “someone who experienced in the flesh the horrors of the Holocaust, fought in the Warsaw ghetto, was imprisoned in Auschwitz and was a member of the camp’s Jewish underground, survived the death marches and was a witness to all that occurred – added an enormous weight to his rare and exceptional strength as a researcher, teacher and leader.”
Gutman’s projects included the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust which Yad Vashem called “comprehensive and groundbreaking.”
He is survived by two daughters, and three grandchildren.
The funeral is today in Jerusalem.
Holocaust historian Israel Gutman dies