Israeli Historian Tom Segev to Receive German Peace Prize

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Tom Segev presents his book 'Simon Wiesenthal. Die Biographie', September 15, 2010.Credit: AP

The Israeli historian Tom Segev has been chosen to receive the peace prize for life achievement awarded every three years by the Korn and Gerstenmann Foundation in Germany, the foundation announced on Friday.

It said in a statement that Segev was selected for his critical research into some of the most complex subjects in the history of the State of Israel, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and awareness of the Holocaust. Segev is considered one of the “new historians” who have sparked major controversy over the history of Zionism, the foundation noted, adding that Segev’s work on both Israeli and German history have made him an influential figure in Germany.

Segev, 70, is a former journalist and columnist at Haaretz. He has written seven Hebrew books of non-fiction, which have been translated into 14 languages and received wide international acclaim. Those translated into English include “The Seventh Million: Israelis and the Holocaust,” “1949: The First Israelis” and “1967: Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East.” His most recent book, published in 2010, is a biography of Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal. He is currently working on a biography of David Ben-Gurion.

The foundation noted that Segev’s books combine stylistic elegance, vividness and analysis based on an unusually varied range of sources.

The foundation’s peace prize, which has been awarded since 2001, was established by siblings Abraham Koren and Rosa Gerstenmann to perpetuate the memory of their niece, Sarah Gerstenmann, who was murdered in the Nazi extermination camp at Majdanek. Prior recipients of the award include Shimon Peres, Amos Oz, Daniel Barenboim, Israeli academic and diplomat Itamar Rabinovich, Palestinian academic Sari Nusseibeh and Israeli diplomat Avi Primor.

The prize, which includes a 50,000-euro (about $55,000) monetary award, is conferred every three years to individuals whom the foundation has identified as contributing to peace, especially in Israel, but in the rest of the world as well.

The award ceremony will take place at the Jewish community center in Frankfurt on December 6. The foundation is headed by the chairperson of the Frankfurt Jewish community.

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