Jan Genossar

One year without Professor Emeritus Jan Genossar

By Professor Alex Gordon, September 17, 2021


One year ago, Professor Jan Genossar, a man of outstanding nobility and intelligence, passed away. Jan was a man unequaled in greatness of soul, in honesty and integrity. He had golden hands and a heart of gold. He hated his past, the years of the Nazi occupation in Krakow, during which he hid from the Nazis. He enjoyed the present of his children and grandchildren, born in defiance of the Nazis. He loved his family and was proud of them and his contribution to the future of the Jewish state. "I got my revenge on the Nazis," he repeated as he looked around his extended family. Jan was a happy man who had experienced great misfortune and great loss during the years of the Shoah of European Jewry. Jan was a happy man who found a loving family, a beloved profession, and a homeland for himself and his people. Having experienced the fear of persecution by executioners, he became the epitome of courage and bravery. Having learned what absolute evil was, he became an absolutely good man. Having learned absolute injustice, he became an absolutely just man. Jan was a beautiful man, gifted with outer and inner beauty. He was characterized by mental beauty. He had blue eyes that radiated goodness and intelligence. He was a shrewd man with a keen sense of truth and falsehood. Jan was a witty man. He showed his humor in his jokes, sometimes combined with bitterness. Jan was a free man in the sense of Baruch Spinoza. In the "Ethics", Spinoza presents his vision of the ideal human being, the "free person" who, motivated by reason, lives a life of joy devoted to what is most important-improving oneself and others. Untroubled by passions such as hate, greed, and envy, free people treat others with benevolence, justice, and charity. Focusing on the rewards of goodness, they enjoy the pleasures of this world, but in moderation. "The free person thinks least of all of death," Spinoza writes, "and his wisdom is a meditation not on death but on life". Jan belonged to the category of people born only once every 1,000 years. Jan was a man of kindness and light, needed by all family, friends and colleagues. For me, spiritual communication with Jan was a constant need. He radiated light and warmth, and conversations with him were always important and meaningful. Contact with him was sustaining and enriching. Jan's departure created a vacuum. Life became poorer and darker without him.