COLIN Tatz was this week remembered as a great academic and humanitarian.
The former director of the Australian Institute of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, who also served as Professor of Politics at the University of New England, Armidale, and at Macquarie University, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 84.
“He lived by the principal of tikkun olam,” his wife Sandra told The AJN. “He helped teach, mentor and assist vastly different communities and very different people, from the most illiterate to the more learned.
“He was good to people and the letters coming in show the wide reach that he had during his life.”
Tatz wrote more than 25 books, discussing a variety of topics including South African apartheid, comparative race politics, genocide and Holocaust, migration, suicide, and sports history.
Dedicated to fighting discrimination, he also had a passion for the Aboriginal community.
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff described Tatz as a “giant of genocide studies academics” and “a champion of combating racism”.
“On a personal level, it was Colin Tatz who awoke in me the importance of raising awareness of these issues and during the course of his career he acquired a universally-acclaimed reputation for his outstanding work and his erudition,” Alhadeff said.
“He leaves a massive gap in Holocaust scholarship specifically and genocide studies more broadly.”
Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Peter Wertheim reflected, “Colin spent much of his life as a social scientist studying the phenomenon of institutionalised racism and exposing its darkest consequences.
“His abhorrence for apartheid in his native South Africa brought him to Australia, where he won admiration for his publications on the effects of discrimination against our Indigenous communities, and the successes of Indigenous Australians in the face of adversity.”
Wertheim said Tatz’s works on comparative genocide, including the Holocaust, stand as monuments to the power of reason and scholarship to combat the destructive irrationality of racism.
“It will now be the task of the new generation of scholars who Colin fostered to build on his mighty legacy.”
Sydney Jewish Museum CEO Norman Seligman said, “Professor Tatz played an important role in the programs of our museum and conducted many seminars and workshops.
“All his endeavours were infused by his passionate quest for tikkun olam – for a just and fairer society resting on democratic values, social justice and human rights.”