Prof. Robert S. Wistrich, widely considered the world’s leading scholar on anti-Semitism, died from a heart attack on Tuesday at age 70. He was in Rome ahead of a scheduled address to the Italian Senate on rising anti-Semitism in Europe.
Wistrich, head of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, wrote or edited at least 29 books. Some of his most noteworthy works included “The Jews of Vienna in the Age of Franz Joseph” (1989), “Anti-Semitism: The Longest Hatred” (1994), “Nietzsche, Godfather of Fascism?” (2002), “Hitler and the Holocaust” (2003), “A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad” (2010), and “From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel” (2012).
From 1999-2001, Wistrich was one of six scholars appointed to an international Catholic-Jewish historical commission that examined the Holocaust-era record of Pope Pius XII. He authored a Simon Wiesenthal Center exhibition, “The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel,” that was displayed in 2014 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris and at the United Nations in New York City.
“[Wistrich] was a great Zionist and a great Jew who will be sorely missed,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Wiesenthal Center.