Benjamin I. Nadel

Obituary
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1918 - 2014
Dr. Benjamin I. Nadel (1918-2014)

Dr. Benjamin I. Nadel of Huntington, NY, passed away on Thursday, December 11, 2014, in Huntington, NY. He was 96.
Dr. Nadel was one of the world's leading scholars in the history and languages of the Black Sea area in antiquity and Middle Ages. He was a leader of the Jewish Labor Bund.

Born in Petrograd, Russia on November 1, 1918, Dr. Nadel moved to Vilna, Poland as a child. He attended the Vilna gymnasium and graduated from the Yiddish Teachers Seminary in 1936. He entered the Vilna University and was admitted into YIVO's graduate program in 1939. He spent the war years in the Soviet Union. Dr. Nadel received a Ph.D. in Ancient History from the History Institute of the Academy of Sciences in Leningrad in 1947. He conducted several archeological digs in Kerch, Crimea and taught classics at the University of Leningrad. Dr. Nadel was Professor and Chairman of Latin at Herzen Institute of Leningrad until 1957 when he returned to Poland. He served as Chairman of Ancient and Medieval History at the University of Gdañsk and taught at the universities of Toruñ, and £ódŸ. In the 1960's he served as a Board Member of the Committee for Ancient Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. He was on the Central Board of the Cultural Associations of the Jews of Poland. The Polish government honored him with the Order of Merit and Title of Honored Cultural Leader in 1965. Dr. Nadel and his family left Poland for France in 1968, where he taught at the University of Paris VIII at Vincennes. He came to the United States in 1969 and served as Professor at the University of Chicago, the Northern Illinois University, and Franconia College, NH.

Dr. Nadel was a leading figure in the Jewish Labor Bund. He was Executive Director of the Bund Archives in New York, and editor of the Bulletin of the Bund Archives and Unser Tsait. In 1992 Dr. Nadel was elected General Secretary of the Coordinating Committee of the Bund. He retired in 2004. His academic honors included the Fellowship award for the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, and Oxford Centre for Post Graduate Hebrew Studies. He was a Fellow of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and the National Endowment for Humanities.

Throughout Dr. Nadel's long and remarkable life, the Yiddish language and culture were close to his heart. His books "Yidn in mizrekh-eyrope…biz 1240" ( Warsaw, 1960), "Di eltste yiddisher yishuvim in mizrekh-eyrope" ( Warsaw, 1961), and over 100 scholarly articles made a significant contribution to the study of the history of the Greek colonies in Crimea, the origins of Eastern European Jewry, the history of the Jewish Labor Bund, and Yiddish.

He is survived by his children Eleanora Golobic and Isaac Nadel. His wife Mirra Nadel predeceased him. Donations in his memory may be made to YIVO Archives,
15 W. 16th Street, New York, NY 10011.
Published on NYTimes.com from Dec. 29 to Dec. 30, 2014