Joe Brenner, 1926-2010, my professor of economic history

On this teacher’s day 2017, I fondly remember Professor Joe (Yehojachin Simon) Brenner (1926-2010). He taught me economic history. Even more, he was a great storyteller about his days in the Stern Gang. It was a Jewish resistance organisation against the British Mandate which ended with Israel’s independence on 14 May 1948. On this rare but of course much later picture he ceremoniously put on his tie to hold an official speech. It was off as soon as the speech was over.

Joe Brenner (1926-2010)


He was a very knowledgeable and humane teacher. He had a sure grip on the major economic developments in modern history. He illustrated these with very vivid, often personal examples. His experiences of the resistance came after the lessons.

When we met last time, at the reception when he retired from the university, on purpose I stood last in the long line to say goodbye. I reminded him that I was one of the first students he met at this university. Sure, he remembered with a huge smile. Then I told him that after all these years his lessons stuck, and that I still used them. That I could imagine no bigger compliment to a teacher. We both were moved. It was a beautiful moment.

I am proud to have been his student.