Bidding Farewell to Professor Shevah Weiss

We are sorry to learn of the passing of Shevah Weiss, the Polish-born Israeli diplomat and political scientist, former Knesset speaker and former ambassador of Israel to Poland. May his memory be a blessing.

„This is a document for the whole world,” Prof. Weiss said about the Warsaw Ghetto Museum in his interview in 2019. “History does not want to become history; it lives inside us (…). Being in Warsaw, which is a living museum itself – archeology of martyrology of two peoples, one can realize that we share common (…) fight for freedom, for life, for humanity and humanism… The most important core values of the Judeo-Christian culture. It was here.”

To honor the memory of Prof. Weiss, we recall an interview conducted by our Museum [in Polish]

Professor Weiss was a Holocaust Survivor. His family escaped from the Lviv Ghetto and survived the war with the help of the Ukrainian Julia Lasotova, the Polish couple Anna and Michał Góral and their pre-war neighbor Maria Potężna with her son Tadeusz. The experiences and memories of the ghetto, escapes and hiding places had a profound impact on Prof. Weiss’ understanding of people and the world, as well as on his political, social and cultural activities.

In 1946, the Weiss family emigrated to Palestine, where Shevah, still a teenager, started a career in sports. At the same time, he started studies at The Department of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and The Faculty of Law at the Tel Aviv University. In 1975, he became a political science professor at The Haifa University. He then started a political career in the Labor Party. As a presiding officer of the Knesset, he participated in the peace negotiations with Yasser Arafat in Oslo in 1993.

Shevah Weiss was an author of numerous publications, including children’s books, monographs in political science and texts about the Holocaust. In 2000, he became the Chairman of the Council of Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center. As a journalist, he collaborated with Polish magazines „Wprost”, „Uważam Rze” and “Do Rzeczy”. Students and teachers of The Warsaw University might remember him from his guest lectures at the Faculty of Political Science and International Studies.

Prof. Weiss passed away on February 3, at the age of 87.

The funeral ceremony took place on February 6 on Mount Herzl (Har ha-Zikaron) in Jerusalem. Albert Stankowski, the Warsaw Ghetto Museum Director, participated in the ceremony along with Prof. Weiss’s family, politicians and people of culture from numerous countries. Mr. Stankowski paid tribute to the deceased on behalf of the staff and community around the Warsaw Ghetto Museum.