Israeli Holocaust Scholar Saul Friedlander Wins Pulitzer Prize

Friedlander wins for his book 'The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945.'

Holocaust historian Saul Friedlander has won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in the general nonfiction category for his book "The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945."

The prize includes a monetary award of $10,000.

Friedlander, 75, one of Israel's most respected and senior historians, was born in Prague. Shortly before they were sent to the Nazi death camps, his parents left him in a monastery, where he was raised.

Friedlander grew up Catholic and even trained for the priesthood, but in 1947, he discovered his Jewish roots and reclaimed his Jewish identity. In 1948, he emigrated to Israel aboard the Altalena, a ship carrying arms for the pre-state Irgun militia. The vessel was later involved in a clash between Irgun fighters and members of the newly formed IDF.

In 1983, Friedlander was awarded one of the country's top honors, the Israel Prize, for his scholarship. That same year, he moved to California and began his career at UCLA, where he still teaches history today.

Friedlander has written numerous books on the Holocaust, including "Nazi Germany and the Jews, Volume 1: The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939" and a memoir called "When Memory Comes."