With sadness, the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism(CISA) announces the passing of our friend and colleague, Robert Wistrich, the world's leading scholarly authority on the history of antisemitism.
Robert was Neuburger Professor of European and Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the head of the University’s Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism.
Robert's knowledge of European and Jewish history was encyclopedic and his facility with languages gave him a unique authority on the problem of antisemitism in a vast number of cultural and national contexts. Over the course of his 40-year career, he wrote and edited over 29 books on subjects related to antisemitism, the Holocaust, Zionism, and Jewish intellectual history. His 1200-page magnum opus was published in 2010 under the title, The Lethal Obsession: Antisemitism From Antiquity to the Global Jihad.
Robert knew the subject of antisemitism in ways that were personal as well. He was born one month before the end of WWII in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, where his parents had fled. The family returned to Poland after the war, and then left for France and finally England, where he grew up and attended university. He took his undergraduate degrees at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and received his PhD in 1974 from the University of London. He became a tenured professor at Hebrew University in 1982 and later taught in Israel and England.
Robert was in Rome Tuesday to address the Italian Senate on the problem of resurgent antisemitism. He died of a heart attack there yesterday.
May his memory be a blessing for us all.