Walter Zwi Bacharach was born in 1928 in Hanau, Germany. His father was a banker and tradesman, and had served in the German army during World War I. In 1938, Zwi and his family fled to Holland, and in January 1942, they were deported to the Westerbork transit camp. From there, on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), October 1943, they were deported to Theresienstadt and then to Auschwitz. Zwi’s father was incarcerated with his two sons and he notified them that their mother had perished on the train. From Auschwitz the three were sent to a camp near Leipzig, where they worked in an ammunition factory.
In March 1945, Zwi, his father and brother were sent on a death march. Zwi’s father was shot in front of his sons during the march. The two brothers survived and were liberated by American soldiers.
In 1945, Bacharach immigrated to Eretz Israel and joined the religious Kibbutz Be’erot Yitzchak in the Negev region. He fought against the Egyptian army during Israel’s War of Independence, and after the war, participated in the relocation of the kibbutz to its current location in central Israel. He later moved to Tel Aviv.
Bacharach was a history teacher, and later a professor in the General History Department at Bar-Ilan University.One of the leading research scholars in the fields of the Holocaust and antisemitism, he published widely on the history of Nazism, Nazi fascist ideology, Jewish and German intellectuals in the Weimar Republic, antisemitism and German Jewish history. He was a researcher at Yad Vashem and president of the Leo Baeck Institute.
Walter Zwi Bacharach passed away in July 2014. He is survived by his wife, three children, seven grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.
Last letters from the Shoah, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem (editor) (2004)
Antisemitism, Holocaust and the Holy See: An Appraisal of New Books about the Vatican and the Holocaust, Yad Vashem Studies, 31 pp. 365-388 (2003)
Antisemitism as a Twentieth-Century Ideology. Major Changes Within the Jewish People in the Wake of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem, pp. 189-197(1996)
Anti-Jewish Prejudices in German-Catholic Sermons, E. Mellen Press, Lewiston, N.Y. (1993)
Towards Dehumanization: Reflections on the Theories of Arthur de Gobineau. Bar-Ilan Studies in History, pp. 147-169 (1978)