Holocaust scholar Randolph Louis Braham, a two-time Jewish National Book Award winner, dies at 95

JTA

(JTA) — Randolph Louis Braham, a two-time Jewish National Book Award winner for works on the Holocaust in Hungary and a founding member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, has died. He was 95.

Braham was a Romania native whose parents and siblings perished at Auschwitz. In 1944, after escaping labor service in the Hungarian army in the Ukraine, he was hidden by a Christian farmer named István Novák, who later was honored by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem as a Righteous Among the Nations. In 1947, Braham came to the United States, where he would earn a master’s degree and doctorate.

His two-volume “The Politics of Genocide: The Holocaust in Hungary” won the 1981 Jewish National Book Award. He won again in 2014 for his three-volume “The Geographical Encyclopedia of the Holocaust in Hungary.”

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Braham edited over 60 books, most of them dealing with the Holocaust in Hungary, and co-authored or wrote chapters to 50 others. He also published a large number of scholarly articles.

He died Sunday of heart failure hours before he was scheduled to deliver a lecture at the Rosenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies at the City University of New York.

He was born Adolf Ábrahám in Romania, and attended the Jewish elementary school in his parents’ hometown of Des, located in Northern Transylvania, and re-annexed by the Hungarian Kingdom in 1940.

In the U.S., Braham received a master’s degree from the City College of New York in 1949, and a doctorate in political science from The New School for Social Research in 1952. He was an emeritus professor at CUNY, where he taught Comparative Political Science from 1956 until 1992, when he retired.

Braham was honored with several medals from Hungary, but returned them in 2014 after Prime Minister Viktor Orban praised Miklos Horthy, who led the country following the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. Horthy was a Hitler ally who oversaw the murder of more than 500,000 Holocaust victims together with Nazi Germany.