Published: Nov. 11, 2020 By

It is with unbelievable sadness that we share the news of the death of our friend, colleague and supporter Professor David Shneer (History and Jewish Studies), who passed away last week after a long battle with cancer.

David Shneer

Courtesy of the Program in Jewish Studies


David made an enormous impact on the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries Archives by founding the Post-Holocaust American Judaism (PHAJ) collections, now one of the most significant bodies of unique primary source material in the United States documenting Judaism and the Jewish experience through the lens of religious, cultural and social movements in America from the 1940s to the present. Because of David, these collections include the Harry W. Mazal Holocaust Collection, the largest collection of materials documenting the Holocaust held outside of Washington, D.C. and New York, and the personal collection of the founder of Jewish Renewal, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, among other materials.

David was passionate, inquisitive and kind. He was a mentor, friend and champion to many of the staff and faculty in the Archives and one of our closest faculty collaborators. A consummate historian and inspired instructor, he has left an indelible impression on the hearts and minds of so many. Above all, David believed in the power of primary-source documentation to fight against fascism and support historical truths. In 2018, he co-founded Archives Transformed, a residency program that brought artists and scholars together to take archival material and transform or re-imagine it to create new knowledge and pieces of work. David regularly brought students, scholars, and community members into the Archives to work with the PHAJ collections, and his curiosity and joy for these materials have inspired legions of new scholars working on topics related to Judaism at home and abroad.

The University Libraries Archives will miss David Shneer terribly. His legacy lives on in the Post-Holocaust American Judaism collections and in our memories of working with him, laughing with him, and exploring with him the power of archives. May his memory be for a blessing.