The International Commission mourns the passing of Dr. Yitzhak Arad (1926 – 2021)

Yitzhak Arad, a former member of the International Commission, a historian, the first director of Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center, passed away at the age of 94

Yitzhak Arad (né Icchak Rudnicki) was born in 1926 in Švenčionys (then Święciany). In his early childhood, he moved to Warsaw with his parents, but at the outbreak of WW II, Yitzhak and his sister left the Nazis occupied Poland for Lithuania. When the Nazis occupied Lithuania, he was imprisoned in the Švenčionys ghetto. Yitzhak managed to escape and join the anti-Nazis partisan movement. Yitzhak Arad‘s relatives were murdered in the ghetto.

In 1945, Yitzhak Arad managed to reach Israel. He fought for Israeli independence, became a brigadier general. In 1972, he started serving as Chairman of Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center. Yitzhak Arad was leading the institution for 20 years, defended his Ph.D. in philosophy at Tel Aviv University, wrote many historical publications and books, which were translated into various languages. In 2005, dr. Yitzhak Arad became a member of the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania, representing Yad Vashem. In 2020, a book in Lithuanian, „From the Valley of Death to Mount Zion“ by Yitzhak Arad, was published in Lithuania.

Yitzhak Arad during the meeting with group of Lithuania’s teachers in 2017, Yad Vashem.