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Robert S. Wistrich

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Robert S. Wistrich

Robert Solomon Wistrich (born April 7, 1945) is the 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. According to Indiana University, Wistrich is "a leading scholar of the history of antisemitism."[1]

Early life

Robert S. Wistrich was born in Lenger, in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic on April 7, 1945.[2] His parents were leftist Polish Jews who had moved to Lviv in 1940 to escape rampant anti-Semitism; however, they found Soviet totalitarianism little better. In 1942 they moved to Kazakhstan, where Wistrich's father was imprisoned twice by the NKVD.[3] His parents returned to Poland under a repatriation agreement between Stalin and the Polish government-in-exile, and later -- finding the post-war environment there to be dangerously anti-Semitic[4] -- the family emigrated to France. The author grew up in England, where in December 1962, at the age of seventeen, he won an Open Scholarship in History to Queens' College, Cambridge, where he also received a BA with Honours, and his MA degree in 1969. At Cambridge, he founded Circuit, a literary and arts magazine which he co-edited between 1966 and 1969. Between 1969–1970, during a study year in Israel, he became the youngest ever literary editor of New Outlook, a left-wing monthly in Tel Aviv, founded by Martin Buber.

Professional career

Robert Wistrich and Bernard Lewis
Robert Wistrich (left) and Bernard Lewis, 2007

Wistrich received his Ph.D. from the University of London in 1974.[2] Between 1974 and 1980, he was Director of Research at the Institute of Contemporary History and the Wiener Library (at that time the largest research library on the Third Reich existing in Europe) and the editor of the Wiener Library Bulletin in London. Appointed a Research Fellow of the British Academy, he had already written several well-received books by the time he was given tenure at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1982. In 1985 his study of Socialism and the Jews won the joint award of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the American Jewish Committee. His 1989 book The Jews of Vienna in the Age of Franz Joseph received the Austrian State Prize in History. His next study, Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred (1981) won the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize in the UK a year later, and was the basis for The Longest Hatred — a three-hour British-American TV documentary mini-series made for Thames Television/WGBH scripted by Wistrich and shown on PBS. In 1993, he also scripted Good Morning, Mr. Hitler, an award-winning documentary on Nazi art commissioned by the UK's Channel 4.

Between 1991 and 1995, Wistrich was appointed the first holder of the Chair of Jewish Studies at University College London, in addition to his position at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He also wrote several dramas for BBC radio and Kol Israel on the lives of historical figures ranging from Leon Trotsky to Theodor Herzl. In 2003, he acted as the chief historical consultant for the BBC documentary, Blaming the Jews (about contemporary Muslim antisemitism) and in 2006 he was the academic advisor for the widely viewed film: Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West.

He was one of six scholars who sat on the International Catholic-Jewish Historical Commission from 1999 to 2001 to examine the wartime record of Pope Pius XII, with special reference to the Holocaust.[5] Since 2002, he has directed the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, and edits its journal, Antisemitism International


Selected books

  • Revolutionary Jews from Marx to Trotsky. Barnes & Noble Books, 1976. ISBN 0-06-497806-0
  • The Left Against Zion.Vallentine Mitchell & Co, 1979. ISBN 0-85303-199-1
  • Socialism and the Jews. Oxford University Press, 1982.
  • Trotsky: Fate of a Revolutionary. Stein & Day, 1982. ISBN 0-8128-2774-0
  • The Jews of Vienna in the Age of Franz Joseph. Oxford University Press, 1989.
  • Between Redemption and Perdition: Modern Antisemitism and Jewish Identity. Routledge, 1990. ISBN 0-415-04233-X
  • Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism in the Contemporary World. New York University Press, 1990. ISBN 0-8147-9237-5
  • Antisemitism, the Longest Hatred. Pantheon, 1992.
  • Who's Who in Nazi Germany. Routledge, 1995. ISBN 0-415-12723-8
  • Terms of Survival. Routledge, 1995. ISBN 0-415-10056-9
  • Weekend in Munich: Art, Propaganda and Terror in the Third Reich (with Luke Holland). Trafalgar Square, 1996. ISBN 1-85793-318-4
  • Theodor Herzl: Visionary of the Jewish State. New York and Jerusalem: Herzl Press and Magnes Press, 1999, 390 pages.
  • Demonizing the Other: Antisemitism, Racism and Xenophobia. Routledge, 1999. ISBN 90-5702-497-7
  • Hitler and the Holocaust. Random House, 2001.
  • Nietzsche: Godfather of Fascism? Princeton, 2002.
  • Islamic Judeophobia: An Existential Threat, in Muhammad's Monsters, Balfour Books, 2004, editor David Bukay.
  • Laboratory for World Destruction. Germans and Jews in Central Europe, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebraska 2007. ISBN 978-0-8032-1134-6
  • A Lethal Obsession: Antisemitism - From Antiquity to the Global Jihad, Random House, 2010. ISBN 978-1-4000-6097-9

Selected papers

  • “German Social Democracy and the Problem of Jewish Nationalism, 1897 1917,” Leo Baeck Yearbook 21 (1976), pp. 109 142.
  • “A Neo Revisionist Renaissance? Back to Bernstein,” Encounter, (July 1978), pp. 75 82.
  • “Historians and the Holocaust,” The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 55, No. 2 (1983), pp. 317 20.
  • “The Modernization of Viennese Jewry: The Impact of German Culture in a Multi-Ethnic State,” in: Toward Modernity: The European Model, Jacob Katz, ed., Transaction Books, 1987, pp. 43 70.
  • “Antisemitismus,” in Neue Lexicon des Judentums, J. H. Schoeps, ed., München: Bertelsmann Lexicon Verlag, 1992, pp. 41 47.
  • “Socialism and Judeophobia: Antisemitism in Europe before 1914,” Leo Baeck Yearbook, (1992), pp. 111 145.
  • “The Jews and Nationality Conflicts in the Habsburg Lands,” Nationalities Papers, (New York) Vol. 22, Nr. I (Spring 1994) pp. 119 141.
  • “Theodor Herzl,” Israel Affairs,(Spring 1995) Vol. 1. No. 3, pp. 1 37.
  • “Max Nordau and the Dreyfus Affair,” The Journal of Israeli History, (Tel Aviv) Vol. 16, No. 1 (1955), pp. 1–19.
  • “Hitler’s Helpers,” Commentary, (June 1996), pp. 51–55.
  • “Zionism and its Jewish `Assimilationist Critics’, 1897-1948,” Jewish Social Studies, 1998,Vol.4 No.2,pp.59-111
  • “The Pope, the Church and the Jews,” Commentary (April 1999), pp. 22–28.
  • “How to Tackle the New Antisemitism” in Standpoint (October 2008) pp. 74–77. "Austria and the Legacy of the Holocaust", The American Jewish Committee, New York 1999, 56 pages.
  • “Austria and the Jewish Question, 1945-1950”, in: Robert B. Pynsent (ed.), The Phoney Peace. Power and Culture in Central Europe, 1945-49 (London, 2000), pp. 39–57.
  • “Was Nietzsche a Fascist Thinker?”, Partisan Review, 2001, 2, pp. 201–217
  • “The Vatican and the Shoah”, Modern Judaism, Vol. 21, Nr. 2, May 2001, pp. 83–107
  • “The Demise of the Catholic-Jewish Historical Commission”, Midstream, December 2001, pp. 2–5.
  • “Jewish Suffering, Vatican Silence”, Catholic International (Washington, D.C.), vol. 13, No. 2, May 2002, pp. 57–62.
  • "Muslim Anti-Semitism: A Clear and Present Danger" PDF (3.48 MiB), American Jewish Committee, 2002.
  • “Muslims, Jews and September 11: The British Case” in Barry Kosmin and Paul Iganski (eds.) The New Anti-Semitism (London, 2003) pp. 169–191.
  • “The Old-New Antisemitism” The National Interest (Washington D.C.) Summer 2003, pp. 59–70.
  • "The Old-New Anti-Semitism" PDF, The National Interest, Number 72, Summer 2003.
    • also "The Old-New Anti-Semitism".
  • "The Politics of Ressentiment: Israel, Jews and the German Media". ACTA paper no. 23, The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, November 2004, 37 pages.
  • "Islamic Judeophobia: An Existential Threat", NATIV online, Volume 2, 2004.
  • “Friedrich Nietzsche and the Austrian Fin de Siecle”, in J. Golomb (ed.) Nietzsche and the Austrian Culture (Wien, 2004) pp. 42–60.
  • “The Jihadist Challenge”, Midstream (Nov/Dec 2004), pp. 8–12.
  • “The Last Testament of Sigmund Freud”, Leo Baeck Yearbook XLIX (2004), pp. 87–106.
  • "Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism", Jewish Political Studies Review 16:3-4, Fall 2004.
  • "Antisemitism in Western Europe at the Beginning of the 21st Century", World Jewish Congress Research Series, January 2005, 24 pages.
  • “Antisemitism – A Civilizational Pathology”, in Manfred Gerstenfeld (ed.) Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss (Jerusalem 2005) pp. 95–110.
  • "European Anti-Semitism Reinvents Itself" PDF (2.62 MiB), American Jewish Committee, 2005.
  • "The Jedwabne Affair", The Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism and Racism, Tel Aviv University.
  • "Reinventing European Antisemitism". The American Jewish Committee, New York, 2005, 54 pages.
  • "Pius XII and the Shoah" in M. Zimmermann et al., Three Generations of Historians on Germans and Jews under the Nazi Regime (Magnes Press, Jerusalem 2006) pp. 21–41.
  • "Stefan Zweig and the ‘World of Yesterday’", in Mark H. Gelber (ed.) Stefan Zweig Reconsidered – New Perspectiveson his Literary and Biographical Writings (Max Niemeyer Verlag, Tübingen 2007), pages 59-77.
  • "Anti-Semitism and Multiculturalism: The Uneasy Connection" – Posen Papers No. 5, The Vidal Sassoon Center for the Study of Antisemitism, March 2007, 12 pages.
  • "Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism: The Case of Bruno Kreisky". ACTA paper no. 30, The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, December 2007, 26 pages.
  • “Modernity and the Nazi Genocide” in Song Lihong (ed.), Holocaust: history and Memory (Nanjing University 2007), pp. 171–192.
  • “Dialogue in Hell: Zionism and its Double” in Midstream (May/June 2008), pp. 9–14
  • “How to Tackle the New Antisemitism” in Standpoint (October 2008) pp. 74–77.


  1. ^ Indiana University to Launch Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, 1/11/2010 [1]
  2. ^ a b Robert Wistrich, Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences website, accessed August 21, 2006.
  3. ^ "The Jedwabne Affair", The Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism and Racism, Tel Aviv University, accessed August 21, 2006.
  4. ^ "A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad"
  5. ^ "Robert Wistrich", NATIV online, retrieved August 20, 2006.

Further reading

  • Michael Berkowitz "Robert S. Wistrich and European Jewish History: Straddling the Public and Scholarly Spheres" in: The Journal of Modern History 70 (March 1998) 119-136.
  • “From Cracow to London; A Polish Jewish Odyssey” in: The Jews in Poland. Volume 2, Slawomir Kapralski ed., Cracow 1999 (Judaica Foundation Center for Jewish Culture), pp. 57–73.
  • “The Vatican and the Shoah”, Modern Judaism, Vol. 21, Nr. 2, May 2001, pp. 83–107
  • “The Demise of the Catholic-Jewish Historical Commission”, Midstream, December 2001, pp. 2–5.
  • “The Vatican on Trial”, The Jerusalem Report, 28. January 2002, pp. 4–6.
  • Gerstenfeld, Manfred. "Something rotten in the State of Europe: Anti-Semitism as a Civilizational Pathology", an interview with Robert Wistrich, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 1, 2004.
  • "Viewpoints: Anti-Semitism and Europe", includes comment from Robert Wistrich, BBC, December 3, 2003.
  • Claremont Review on Wistrich Summer 2011.
  • “Antisemitism – A Civilizational Pathology”, in Manfred Gerstenfeld (ed.) Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss (Jerusalem 2005) pp. 95–110.
  • “Cruel Britannia” Azure (Summer 2005), pp. 100–124.
  • “Drawing the Line. On Antisemitism and anti-Zionism”, The Jewish Quarterly Nr. 198 (Summer 2005), pp. 21–24.
  • “How to Tackle the New Antisemitism” in Standpoint (October 2008) pp. 74–77.
  • "Interviews”, in Andrei Marga (ed.) Dialoguri (Presa Universitarǎ Clujeanǎ, 2008) pp. 221–235. In English

External links

  • Robert Wistrich's website
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