Elisabeth Maxwell dies at 92

Elisabeth Maxwell

Elisabeth Maxwell

Elisabeth Maxwell, the widow of media tycoon Robert Maxwell, has died at the age of 92.

Dr Maxwell, who was not Jewish, devoted her life to Holocaust education and Jewish-Christian relations.

Born in France in 1921, she was educated in law at the Sorbonne and then studied Modern Languages at Oxford, where she went on to do a Doctorate in Philosophy.

She was the editor of two books on Holocaust memorial and wrote her autobiography in 1994. She held many prestigious positions, including honorary Fellow of the Woolf Institute in Cambridge, which promotes the study of relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

She was married to newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell for 46 years until his death in mysterious circumstances in 1991 after having apparently fallen overboard from his yacht.

It was when making his family tree for the benefit of their children that she discovered over 300 of his relatives had died in the Holocaust. In an interview with the JC in 2005, she said: “When it was finished, I gave it to Yad Vashem. It was in the form of a concertina. I had put a golden Star of David by each of the names of those who were killed in the Holocaust. When it was unfolded, it was like a shower of stars.”

In a statement Dr Maxwell's family said: “Her devoting the rest of her life to work on the Holocaust and to Judaeo-Christian dialogue arose out of her profound need as a Christian to comprehend how such an event as the Holocaust could have happened in Christian Europe in the middle of the 20th Century and then to ensure through dissemination of the facts and teaching, that it could never happen again.”

She is survived by seven children and 13 grandchildren.

    Last updated: 4:38pm, August 8 2013