Simonsohn, Shlomo

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SIMONSOHN, SHLOMO (1923– ), Israeli historian. Simonsohn was born in Breslau, but immigrated to Ereẓ Israel as a child in 1933 and studied at the Hebrew University. From 1942 until 1947 he was a member of the *Haganah. He received his doctorate from London University. In 1957, he was appointed head of the department of Jewish history at Tel Aviv University, a position he held until 1988. From 1961 until 1964 he served as the director of the central library. He became a full professor in 1968. From 1969 to 1971 he was the dean of the Jewish Studies School, and from 1969 to 1992 the director of the Diaspora Research Institute. In 1970 he was one of the founders of the Bet Berl Teachers Training College. In the same year he was also one of the founders of the Diaspora Museum, serving on its board. Simonsohn served as rector of the University in 1971–77, while in the years 1973–74 he was also the chairman of the President's and Rector's Committee. He retired in 1993 and became chairman of the Diaspora Research Institute council. Simonsohn devoted himself mainly to the history of the Jews in Italy, on which he has published Leon de Modena (1953); Magen va-Ḥerev (1960), on Leone *Modena's anti-Christian tract; and Toledot ha-Yehudim be-Dukkasut Mantovah (2 vols., 1962–64). He was one of the founders and leaders of "Shurat ha-Mitnadvim," a voluntary public movement that was active in Israel in the 1950s with the aim of raising the standards of public life. Simonsohn was awarded the Ben Zvi Award in 1964 and the Shazar Award in 1996.

[Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]