In memoriam: Lionel Kochan, 1922-2005

Dr Lionel Kochan, who died on 25 September 2005, served as President of this Society in 1980-2.

Chimen Abramsky once said that to be a Jewish historian one needs to know German, Russian, Hebrew, Yiddish and probably Polish. I suspect that very few of us would be accepted under that definition as proper Jewish historians ? probably Chimen himself might be one of those who could pass that test – but certainly Lionel Kochan would have joined them.

Another requirement for such an historian is to understand not only the culture or cultures to which he belongs, but the nature of those cultures. It is not sufficient to be Jewish; he must be learned in his Judaism and its roots. He must equally know and understand the society in which he is living as well as that which he is studying. There is a saying we all know, that ‘it

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