Collection of Jacob Robinson, jurist and diplomat

Language of Description
  • English
  • Hebrew

Extent and Medium

89 files


Biographical History

Dr. Jacob Robinson was born on 28 November 1889 in Seirijai, a village in the Alytus district in southeastern Lithuania,and received a traditional Jewish education. In 1910 he completed his studies at the Suwalki High School, and in the summer of 1914, he completed his studies for the title of Doctor of Law at the University of Warsaw. In May 1923 he was elected to the Sejm (the Lithuanian Parliament) where he served as head of the Jewish faction and a leader of the minorities' bloc. During the years 1925-1931, Robinson served as an noteworthy Jewish spokesman at the Congress of European Nationalities. With the outbreak of World War II he was chosen to lead the Jewish delegation for handling the Jewish Polish refugees.

In 1940 he left Lithuania and arrived with his family in New York via Lisbon. There, in 1941, together with his brother Nechemia, under the combined auspices of the World Jewish Congress and American Jewish Congress, he established the Institute for Jewish Affairs, which he directed until 1947.

At the Nuremberg trials he served as Advisor for Jewish Matters to Judge Robert H. Jackson who headed the Prosecution for the United States. Robinson became known as the person who filled the key position in convincing Judge Jackson to accept the new idea of "Crime against Humanity" as a paragraph in the indictment against the Nazis for crimes against the Jews. After the trials of the main war criminals, Robinson continued to follow closely after the investigations of the sentences and the proceedings related to the punishments of war criminals in the series of trials known as the "additional Nuremberg Trials". In 1951, together with his brother Dr. Nechemia Robinson, he took an active part in the negotiations with West Germany regarding reparations to Nazi victims.

When Adolf Eichmann was captured, Robinson was invited to join the prosecution team headed by Gideon Hausner. Following the trial he published the book, "And the Crooked Shall Be Made Straight: The Jews of Europe in the Face of Historical Truth and the Eichmann Trial in Jerusalem, and of the International Law", a critical response to Hannah Arendt's book, "Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil". Jacob Robinson died in New York, 24 October 1977.

Scope and Content

The Jacob Robinson Collection contains documentation and publications dealing with the capture of Adolf Eichmann and the Eichmann Trial, and especially with international legal aspects regarding this event; a copy of the interview Willem Sassen conducted with Adolf Eichmann in Argentina in the middle 1950s; documentation regarding criminals and trials conducted against them, mainly the Nuremberg Trials; plans for the creation of a comprehensive bibliographical and chronological project about the Holocaust; bibliographical surveys; documentation concerning the Joel Brand Affair and the Holocaust of the Jews of Europe and more.

Finding Aids

  • Description of the files are available on IDEA ALM system at Yad Vashem Archives reading room

Existence and Location of Originals

  • YV archives

Archivist Note

JL according to the RG description in the YV system

Rules and Conventions

EHRI Guidelines for Description v.1.0

Dates of Descriptions