Dr. Eva Fleischner, a loyal and distinguished member of the Mgrublian Center’s founding advisory board, died in Claremont on July 5, 2020, one day before her 95th birthday.
Born in Vienna in 1925 to a Jewish father and Catholic mother, Fleischner fled the Nazis with her family to England and eventually settled in the United States in 1943. She would go on to become a well-known scholar of Jewish-Christian relations, first attending Radcliffe College where she graduated manga cum laude in 1946, then earning her doctorate at Marquette University with a dissertation on “The Impact of the Holocaust on German Christian Theology since 1945.” She taught religion and philosophy at Montclair State University (1972–1991).
Fleischner published with distinction on topics such as teaching the Shoah, female resistance to the Holocaust, and Judaism in Christian theology. Her publications include “‘Who Am I?’ The Struggle for Religious Identity of Jewish Children Hidden by Christians during the Shoah,” a chapter in Gray Zones: Ambiguity and Compromise in the Holocaust and Its Aftermath, the 2005 volume based on the Center’s first international conference, February 5–7, 2004.
In 1999–2000, Fleischner was one of six Catholic and Jewish scholars—including Gerald Fogarty, Michael Marrus, John Morley, Bernard Suchecky, and Robert Wistrich—who served on the International Catholic-Jewish Historical Commission, which examined and reported about the available records on Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust. The Commission’s work laid early groundwork for the fuller 2020 opening of the Vatican archive’s files on Pius XII’s wartime actions. Fleischner generously donated to the Center her copies of the documents supplied to the Commission by the Vatican. They are housed in the Center’s Roth Library.