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Yitzhak Arad (Hebrew: יצחק ארד‎) (born November 11, 1926) is a Lithuanian-born Israeli historian and retired IDF brigadier general. A veteran of the Nazi-era Jewish resistance movement in ghetto; partisan, he has researched, lectured, and published extensively on the Holocaust.


Early life and war experiences

Dr. Yitzhak Arad was born Itzhak Rudnicki in Święciany (now Svencionys) on November 11, 1926. In his youth, he belonged to the Zionist youth movement Ha-No'ar ha-Tsiyyoni. During the war, he was active in the ghetto underground movement from 1942 to 1944. In February 1943, he joined the Soviet partisans in the Vilnius Battalion of the Markov Brigade, a primarily non-Jewish unit in which he had to contend with antisemitism. Apart from a foray infiltrating the Vilna Ghetto in April 1943 to meet with underground leader Abba Kovner, he stayed with the partisans until the end of the war, fighting the Germans and their collaborators in the Narocz Forest of Belarus.

Immigration to Mandatory Palestine

In December 1945, Arad immigrated illegally to Mandatory Palestine. In Arad's military career in the IDF, he reached the rank of brigadier general and was appointed to the post of Chief Education Officer. He retired in 1972.

Academic career

In his academic career as a lecturer on Jewish history at Tel Aviv University, he has researched World War II and the Holocaust, and has published extensively as author and editor, primarily in Hebrew. His current research deals with the Holocaust in the USSR. Dr. Yitzhak Arad served as the director (Chairman of the Directorate) of Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Authority, for 21 years (1972-1993). He remains associated with Yad Vashem in an advisor's capacity.

Dr. Yitzhak Arad today continues his research and writing activities, with recent and upcoming publications. His works have been translated into several languages. Recently, the government of Lithuania has requested that he be questioned in connection to alleged Soviet-era crimes. Lithuanian prosecutors are investigating whether, during the Nazi occupation, Arad served with the NKVD and may have been involved in executions of Lithuanian civilians and members of the anti-Soviet resistance movement. Arad maintains that the allegations are a vendetta for his having painstakingly listed atrocities committed by Lithuanian collaborators. [1]

Alleged war crimes

In 2007, Lithuania asked Israel to extradite Arad to Lithuania for questioning. The chief prosecutor of Lithuania had suspected that Arad was involved in crimes against Lithuanian civilians committed by some resistance groups during Arad's role as a partisan fighter during World War II. Israel refused the request, and called it "nothing short of outrageous". Arad denied involvement.[1]


He was born Itzhak Rudnicki, later adopting the Hebrew surname Arad [ארד]. During WWII, he was known as "Tolya" in the underground and among the partisans.

Bibliography in English


As author

  • The partisan : from the Valley of Death to Mount Zion (1979)
  • Ghetto in flames : the struggle and destruction of the Jews in Vilna in the Holocaust (1980)
  • Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka : the Operation Reinhard death camps (1987) ISBN 0-253-21305-3

As editor

  • Documents on the Holocaust: selected sources on the destruction of the Jews of Germany and Austria, Poland, and the Soviet Union (1982, rev. 1989, 1999) with Israel Gutman and Abraham Margaliot
  • The Einsatzgruppen reports: selections from the dispatches of the Nazi Death Squads’ campaign against the Jews July 1941-January 1943 (1989) with Shmuel Krakowski and Shmuel Spector
  • Pictorial History of the Holocaust (1990)
  • Ponary diary, 1941-1943 : a bystander’s account of a mass murder, by Kazimierz Sakowicz (2005, from the Polish)


  1. ^ Russia Today- Lithuania wants to grill former IDF General

External links


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