OPINION: David made me a better scholar

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OPINION: David made me a better scholar

Dr Deborah Lipstadt
Dr Deborah Lipstadt

by Deborah Lipstadt 

Dr Deborah Lipstadt
Dr Deborah Lipstadt

David Cesarani was a scholar with a capacious and prodigious mind. He did more than add to our storehouse of knowledge about the Holocaust, which, in and of itself, was tremendously important. He also asked great questions.

He compelled us to sharpen our thinking about the topic. He was never working on just one project but juggled a number of them and planned others for the future. I loved being in conversation with him. I did not always agree with him but he made me reconsider my own conclusions.

He made me and so many other people in this field better scholars. Invariably, whenever we spoke, I found myself coming away reconsidering my previous conclusions.

Above all I grieve for his family who have suffered an incalculable loss. But I also grieve for the scholarship we shall not have, for the students who shall not be trained by him, and for a field of study which needed him so badly and which now stands diminished because of his untimely passing.

He has left a great legacy of scholarship but we shall always miss what could have yet come from him.

Ironically, I write this from Auschwitz. I shall walk through this place, where I have been many times, and shall do so thinking of the research, teaching, and scholarly contribution that David could have yet made – and already has made – to the preservation and understanding of history of this notorious place.

• Deborah Lipstadt is an historian, academic and author of books including Denying The Holocaust

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