A professor, an outstanding historian, one of the world’s best experts in the history of Polish Jews in modern and later times. He provided English-speaking readers with rich and reliable knowledge about Poland, the Jews who lived in Poland, and Polish-Jewish relations.
He was born on September 23, 1940 in Johannesburg, South Africa, to a family of Polish Jewish immigrants. In 1960, he got a BA in history and political science from the Witwatersrand University. As a Rhodes Scholar, he enrolled at the University of Oxford. In 1964, he left for Poland on a British Council scholarship. He received his doctorate in modern history from Oxford in 1968 and was awarded the title of professor in 1989 at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences. In 1992-1999, he worked at the Brandeis University.
Founder of the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies in Oxford, vice president of the American Association for Polish-American Studies and a member of the International Council of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Chief scientific consultant of the core exhibition at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. During the 2nd Congress of Foreign Researchers of Polish History (Krakow 2012), he was honored with the Pro Historia Polonorum award, Gall Anonymus statuette and the Award of the Speaker of the Senate of the Republic of Poland for the best foreign-language work relating to the history of Poland for the last five years.
“It is important to discuss this difficult and complicated matter in a calm and balanced way. It is necessary in order to turn to the future of the next generations, and not remain in the depths of history. Poland is not a cementery.”
Author of over a dozen books, including the one published in Polish, entitled “The history of Jews in Poland and Russia” (PWN, 2014). One of his greatest achievements is the magazine “Polin. Studies in Polish Jewry ”, which he has been editing and publishing continuously since 1986.
“Jews were an important part of the society that lived here in Poland. For as long as 1000 years! Before the war, over 3 million Jews lived in Poland.
It was their largest diaspora in the world.
They lived, worked and created their own unique culture here.”