CNES mourns the passing of Professors Leslau and Shaw
Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Semitic Linguistics Wolf Leslau leaves a legacy of research and publication in the field of Ethio-Semitic linguistics spanning 75 years. A native of Czestochowa, Poland, he was schooled in Vienna before moving to Paris, New York, and finally Los Angeles in 1955 where he was founding Chair of the Department of Near Eastern and African Languages (now NELC). In the 1960s he directed UCLA’s Amharic language program which was vital to the work of the Peace Corps in Ethiopia. He mastered new technologies when already in his 90s, using a Mac to continue his research and writing almost until his death. He was instrumental in the hiring of Gustav E. von Grunebaum, founding Director of the Center for Near Eastern Studies. Leslau is remembered as an informed citizen and a gracious gentleman, a man of subtle humor, knowledgeable and serious on just about any subject. He is survived by his daughters Elaine and Sylvia and grandchildren.
Professor Emeritus of History Stanford Shaw was one of the most prolific Ottoman historians in the United States. He taught at Harvard University and UCLA, where he was founding editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Middle East Studies. After retiring from UCLA, he taught for nearly a decade at Bilkent University in Ankara. Former students praised his personal warmth, kindness, and generosity, and his steady efforts to build up the Ottoman and Turkish collections at the Harvard and UCLA libraries. His work culminated in the publication of his five-volume history of The Turkish War of National Liberation, 1918–1923 (Ankara, 2001). His life was commemorated at Etz Ahayim Synagogue in Ortaköy, Istanbul, where his wife Ezel, daughter Wendy, and son-in-law Savas Arslan accepted condolences from friends and colleagues and from Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül and numerous other dignitaries. He was buried at the Ashkenazi Cemetery in Ulus.
Published: Sunday, July 15, 2007
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