Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Isaiah Trunk Dead at 75

April 2, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

— Isaiah Trunk, a leading historian on the Holocaust and the chief archivist of YIVO, the Jewish Research Institute, died here last Saturday at the age of 75.

A scholar and author, Trunk was regarded as an expert on Jewish history during the Nazi era. In 1973 he was co-winner of the National Book Award in history for “Judenrat: The Jewish Councils in Eastern Europe Under Nazi Occupation” He shared the award with Robert Myers, author of “The Children of Pride.”

The author of many articles in English and Yiddish on the Holocaust, Trunk was also the author of “Jewish Response to Nazi Persecution,” published in 1979.

Born in Kutne, Poland, in 1905, Trunk graduated in 1923 from the Hebraic Humanistics Gymnasium in Lodz. Four years later he received a master’s degree in history from Warsaw University.

After his graduation, Trunk taught in various schools and was associated with the historians’ circle of YIVO in Warsaw. When the Germans occupied Poland, Trunk fled to Bialystok in the Soviet Union and returned to Poland after the war. In 1950 he emigrated to Israel, lived there for three years and then moved to Canada to be director of the Peretz School in Calgary. He moved to New York a year later to work at YIVO, where he become a chief archivist in 1971.

Recommended from JTA