23 July 2018

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of our dear colleague prof. dr. Evelien Gans (May 24th, 1951 - July 19th, 2018). A committed scientist, idiosyncratic as an intellectual, as a writer, as an activist, as a colleague and friend – she will be greatly missed.

Following her doctoral research, Evelien joined the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies to devote her time to research anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish stereotypes in the Netherlands in the first years after the Second World War. This closely followed the theme of the polemical essay that she had published five years earlier: Gojse nijd & joods narcisme. Over de verhouding tussen joden en niet-joden in Nederland (Gojse Envy & Jewish Narcissism: about the Relationship between Jews and Non-Jews in the Netherlands), in which she addressed the minefield of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic stereotyping, Jewish self-hatred and related issues - a theme that she would develop over the decades. This would ultimately result in the NWO-led programme De dynamiek van hedendaags antisemitisme in een wereldwijde context (The Dynamics of Contemporary Anti-Semitism in a Global Context), which was completed more than a year ago with the publication of the collection The Holocaust, Israel and 'the Jew’: Histories of Antisemitism in Postwar Dutch Society, edited by Evelien Gans and Remco Ensel.

Her work, however, was not limited to NIOD and the study of anti-Semitism. In 2002, she was appointed Professor by special appointment to the chair Hedendaags jodendom, zijn geschiedenis en zijn cultuur (Contemporary Judaism, its History and its Culture) at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam. In 2008, she published the first part of Jaap en Ischa Meijer. Een joodse geschiedenis 1912-1956 (Jaap and Ischa Meijer: a Jewish History, 1912-1956), a double biography about father and son Meijer, which was received with great praise and for which she received the Henriëtte Boas Award in 2011.

The exceptional quality of her work, in style and depth, reflects the intensity and commitment that characterised Evelien. She did not shy away from debate. She was prominently present in the media, at conferences, and public discussions. NIOD will miss her immensely.

Frank van Vree