In Memoriam: Rachel Feldhay Brenner, 1946-2021

Rachel Feldhay Brenner, the Elaine Marks WARF Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, died on Thursday, February 4 in Madison. She was 74 years old.

Born in Zabrze, Poland in 1946, Brenner moved to Israel with her family in 1956. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Hebrew University and a master’s degree at Tel Aviv University in Israel. Dr. Brenner earned a Ph.D. in English at York University in Toronto.

In 1992. Dr. Brenner joined the department of Hebrew and Semitic studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to chairing the department from 2004 to 2007, Brenner was an active member of the George L. Mosse/Laurence A. Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies, the Middle East Studies Program, and the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia. She was also a senior fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities.

An internationally recognized scholar of Hebrew, Polish, and Canadian literatures, Brenner published on a wide range of subjects, including the ethics of witnessing, the literature of the Holocaust, and relations between Israeli Arab and Jewish writers. She served as the president of the Association for Israel Studies from 2007-2009, was a fellow at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and at the time of her passing was a board member of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America.

Professor Brenner was the author of seven books, including her latest work, Polish Literature and the Holocaust: Eyewitness Testimonies, 1942–1947 (Northwestern University Press, 2019).

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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