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Yad Vashem "To Build and To Be Built". The Contribution of Holocaust Survivors to the State of Israel

Walter Zwi Bacharach

Zwi Bacharach at a conference at Yad Vashem, 2005
Zwi Bacharach giving the survivors’ address at the opening ceremony of Holocaust Martyrs’and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, 2006
Zwi Bacharach giving the survivors’ address at the opening ceremony of Holocaust Martyrs’and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, 2006
Zwi Bacharach at the opening ceremony of Holocaust Martyrs’and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, 2006, at which he gave the survivors’ address
Zwi Bacharach at the opening ceremony of Holocaust Martyrs’and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, 2006, at which he gave the survivors’ address. On the right: Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel
Walter Zwi Bacharach (probably fourth from right) at Kibbutz Be’erot Yitzchak
Zwi, his wife Chana and their eldest son Menachem
From right: Zwi, his eldest son Menachem, his wife Chana and their middle daughter Malka
Walter Zwi Bacharach at a family celebration. His son Menachem is on the right.
Walter Zwi Bacharach when he was a history teacher
Walter Zwi Bacharach with his children and grandchildren at an international conference held in his honor on the occasion of his eightieth birthday at Bar Ilan University, 2008

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.

His published works include:
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)

Walter Zwi Bacharach passed away in July 2014. He is survived by his wife, three children, seven grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.