Cohn, Haim Herman

Cohn, Haim Herman

Haim Herman Cohn was born in 1911 to an Orthodox family in Lübeck, Germany. Cohn, who studied at Yeshivat Merkaz Harav in Jerusalem in 1931-32, began his academic studies in Munich (1929-1930), continued at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1931-1932), and completed a law degree in Frankfurt (1933). In Frankfurt, Cohn wrote a doctoral dissertation titled “The Methodology of the Talmudic Law.” Upon the rise of the Nazi government, Cohn returned to Jerusalem, where he worked as a lawyer.

In 1950 Cohn was appointed Attorney General of Israel, and for a short period in 1952 he served as Minister of Justice. Cohn was appointed to the Israeli Supreme Court in 1960, and he remained in that position until 1981.

In addition to his position on the Court, Cohn served in many other public roles.  In 1955, he was appointed president of the Jewish Law Association, a position which he held for thirty years. During the years 1955-1957 and 1965-1967, Cohn served as Israel’s representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Between 1962 and 1989, he served as a member of the International Court of Justice in Hague. Cohn lectured on a number of law faculties, including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he received full professorship in 1972, and Tel Aviv University. Cohn received many awards and honorary degrees, including the Israel Prize (1980).

Cohn was a prolific writer and published numerous books and hundreds of articles. Among his books are a Hebrew introduction to Law (Hamishpat, Jerusalem 1996) and a book on Human Rights in Jewish Law (New York 1984). Cohn wrote an autobiography in Hebrew, which was completed and published by his wife (Haim H. Cohn, A Personal Introduction: Autobiography, Kinneret, Zemorah-Bittan and Dvir Publishing 2005). He died in 2002.