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Eva Fleischner

Eva Fleischner

American theologian and university teacher
Eva Fleischner
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American theologian and university teacher
A.K.A. Eva Maria Elizabeth
Was Professor Educator Theologian
From United States of America
Type Academia Religion
Gender female
Birth 7 July 1925, Vienna, Austria
Death 6 July 2020, Claremont, California, USA (aged 95 years)
Star sign Cancer
Spouse: Hans (Leslie) Fleischner
Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts Christian religious history (-1946)
The University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana MS, Liturgical Studies
Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Ph.D. (-1971)
The details


Eva Fleischner (July 7, 1925 — July 6, 2020) was an Austrian-born American university professor. 

Early life and education

Fleischner was born as Eva Maria Elizabeth on July 7, 1925, in Vienna, Austria. In 1938, her family moved to England, where she did her schooling. In 1943, she, with her family, emigrated to the United States. She became a US citizen in 1949.

Fleischner studied Christian religious history at Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, graduating in 1946. Later, she earned an M.S. degree in Liturgical Studies from The University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, and a Ph.D. degree from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1971. Her dissertation was on Judaism in German Christian Theology Since 1945.


After graduating from Radcliffe College, Fleischner worked for three years at Houghton Mifflin and then served as one of the first Fulbright Scholars in Paris in 1949-1950. After returning to the United States, Eva joined the recently founded Grail—an international movement of Catholic laywomen founded in 1921 in the Netherlands by Jesuit priest and scholar Fr. Jac. van Ginneken. In 1957, Fleischner pledged to live a life of devotion to God through the mission of Grail, stating, "It was through the Grail that I found purpose and meaning in life ... and with a whole new commitment which I didn’t know was possible before." 

While in the Grail, Fleischner obtained an M.S. in Liturgical Studies from The University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

Her focus over the years has been to awaken her fellow Christians to the riches of the Jewish tradition and the horrors of the Holocaust. She once summed up her work as a teacher, scholar, and lecturer of one of "helping Christians to deepen their knowledge of the Jewish experience and tradition with the hope that Jews and Christians can come to a full understanding of what it means to be people of God in the world." 

Fleischner taught religion and philosophy at Montclair State College (now University), New Jersey, from 1972 to 1991, where she became a full professor. At Montclair, she developed a course on the Holocaust that she taught regularly for nearly 20 years — long before such a course became common. She was also a visiting professor at Colorado College and the College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, Minnesota. 

In 1996/97, 1998/99, and 2001, she held the Marquette University Women's Chair in Humanistic Studies.

She was a member of the US Bishops' Office of Catholic-Jewish Relations and of the International Commission formed to study the Vatican archives relating to the Holocaust.

In 1999, Australian Cardinal Edward Cassidy appointed Fleischner to the six-member International Catholic-Jewish Historical Commission to undertake a review of Vatican archival material from 1939-1945. The commission's mandate involved the sensitive matter of assessing 11 volumes of documentation pertinent to the papacy of Pope Pius XII.


In 1997, Fleischner with Michael Phayer co-authored Cries in the Night: Women Who Challenged the Holocaust. The book is the story of seven Catholic women who defied Hitler during the Holocaust by saving Jews. The authors show that these women, motivated by compassion and a sense of justice, also strongly desired that their church take up the cause of the Jews during the Holocaust. These women believed that the true mission of the Chruch lay not in preserving the Chruch's external structure and buildings, but in defending the oppressed.

Fleischner was also a contributor to the 2005 book Seeing Judaism Anew: Christianity's Sacred Obligation. It was edited by Mary C. Boys and other contributors include Celia DeutschDeirdre GoodWalter HarrelsonRuth LangerJohn T. Pawlikowski, Michael Mcgarry, and Clark M. 

Her other books include:

  • Auschwitz: Beginning of a New Era? Reflections on the Holocaust (1977)
  • Judaism in German Christian Theology Since 1945: Christianity and Israel Considered in Terms of Mission (1975)
  • Messianic hope: A Jewish perspective, a Christian perspective (1984)
  • Auschwitz: Beginning of a New Era? Reflections on the Holocaust: Papers Given at the International Symposium on the Holocaust, Held at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York City (1977)
  • Judaism in German Christian Theology Since 1945: Christianity and Israel Considered in Terms of Mission (1975, foreword by Krister Stendahl)

Personal life

Fleischner was married to her husband Hans (Leslie) Fleischner.


Fleischner died on July 6, 2020, in Claremont, California.


  • Herbert S. Heavenrich: In search of the sacred : Dr. Eva Fleischner, a pioneer Catholic theologian whose search led her to leadership in the ongoing process of ending Catholic-Christian anti-Judaism. Bloomington : 1st Books Library, 2003
To cite the article
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Article Title: Eva Fleischner: American theologian and university teacher - Biography and Life
Author(s): PeoplePill.com Editorial Staff
Website Title: PeoplePill
Publisher: PeoplePill
Article URL: https://peoplepill.com/people/eva-fleischner/
Publish Date: 18 Sep 2017
Date Accessed: 26 Nov 2020
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