(photo credit: ROYAL HOLLOWAY UNIVERSITY OF LONDON)
Prominent British Holocaust historian David Cesarani died this week at the age of 58.
Author or editor of more than a dozen books, the University of London professor was described as one of the leading lights of Holocaust research.
“As one of Britain’s leading scholars in Jewish history and the Holocaust, David dedicated his life’s work to enhancing our understanding of humanity’s darkest hour,” UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation chair Sir Peter Bazalgette was quoted as saying by the Jewish Chronicle. “His work with the Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission and resulting Foundation was truly invaluable, offering counsel on how to teach further generations of the warnings of the Holocaust, sharing his expertise in Holocaust education.”
Cesarani was both an adviser to the Home Office on memorial issues and a British representative on the Intergovernmental Taskforce for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, the London- based paper reported.
His 2006 book Becoming Eichmann won a National Jewish Book Award.
In it, he disputed the intellectual construct of the banality of evil promulgated by writer Hannah Arendt, and dismissed her prior work in the harshest terms.
Cesarani was also awarded an Order of the British Empire for his educational achievements.
Jewish leaders in Britain were quick to mourn his passing.
“The British Jewish community mourns the loss of Prof. David Cesarani, a towering academic and historian. May his memory be for a blessing,” tweeted Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.
Former chief rabbi Lord Sir Jonathan Sacks wrote on the social network that he was “stunned” by the historian’s death, calling him “our keeper of the conscience of memory.”
Cesarani was “a man of luminous intelligence and splendid academic achievement,” London Times columnist David Aaronovitch said.