Saying goodbye to Prof Israel Gutman

At the age of 90 passed away our dear friend Prof Israel Gutman, historian of Warsaw Jews.

Wide israel guttman at eichmann trial1961
Professor Israel Gutman as a witness at the Eichmann trial in 1961  /  Israel Government Press Office / Wikimedia Commons / lic. CC-BY-SA 3.0

I met Professor Gutman in 1995 when for the first time we were exhibiting our books published at the JHI at the fair in Jerusalem. Professor looked at them favorably, including my PhD about the Jews of Cracow. The meeting resulted in a six-month scholarship for the next year at the Institute for Advanced Studies by Yad Vashem led by Professor. During my stay there, Professor always gave advice and help, and in fact it was him who encouraged me to study the Holocaust of Polish Jews and difficult Polish-Jewish relations during the occupation. Professor was very circumspect in his judgement of these relations, he did not hide the negative aspects, together with Szmul Krakowski he announced work on this subject matter.

At the same time Professor expressed his admiration for the activists of „Żegota” and Henryk Wolinski from The Bureau of Information and Propaganda of the Home Army, deeply involved in helping the Jewish underground in the Warsaw ghetto. He expressed it in his works devoted to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In the following years Professor was a frequent guest at the Jewish Historical Institute; he participated in conferences organized by us, helped with the archival issues, gave his opinion on research findings and grant applications. As with the Centre for Holocaust Research at the Polish Academy of Sciences IFiS we could always count on his help. He will be greatly missed.

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