David Cesarani was a historian who specialised in Jewish history of the twentieth century. Cesarani was born in London in 1956. Before his university education, he spent a year in Israel working on a kibbutz. He received a B.A. in History from Cambridge University, an M.A. in Jewish history from Columbia University, New York, and a a PhD from St Antony’s College, Oxford. Cesarani taught at the University of Leeds, Queen Mary University of London, and the University of Southampton, before joining the Royal Holloway faculty in London. He was the director of the Wiener Library, the world’s oldest Holocaust archive, and a senior scholar in residence at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
Cesarani was known for his prize-winning work on Eichmann: His Life and Crimes (2004) which sought to refute Hannah Arendt’s famous appraisal of Eichmann as a banal functionary. Among his other publications are The Making of Modern Anglo-Jewry (1990), The Jewish Chronicle and Anglo-Jewry, 1841-1991 (1994), The Holocaust (1996), Justice Delayed: How Britain Became a Refuge for Nazi War Criminals (1992), and Major Farran’s Hat: Murder, Scandal and Britain’s War Against Jewish Terrorism, 1945-1948 (2009).
Cesarani was one of the prominent supporters of the Israeli Peace Now movement. In 2005, he was appointed Order of the British Empire for his work in helping Britain establish the Holocaust Memorial Day. He died in 2015.