Israel Gutman was born in Warsaw, Poland in May 1923. He fought in the Warsaw ghetto uprising, following which, he was deported to Majdanek, Auschwitz and Mauthausen concentration camps. Gutman lost his parents and siblings in the ghetto, and was part of the death march from Auschwitz to to Mauthausen in 1945.
After liberation, Israel Gutman joined the Jewish Brigade in Italy. A year after the Holocaust ended, he made Aliyah to Kibbutz Lehavot Bashan. He was a member of the kibbutz for 25 years and raised his family there.
In 1961, Gutman testified at the Adolf Eichmann trial. He was professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the deputy chairman of the International Auschwitz Council at Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. Israel Gutman was the editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. His involvement in Yad Vashem included his role as head of the International Institute for Holocaust Research (1993-1996), Chief Historian (1996-2000) and Academic Advisor (from 2000).
Israel Gutman was awarded the Yitzhak Sadeh prize for Military Studies. He advised the Polish government in the areas of Jewish affairs, Judaism and Holocaust commemoration.He passed away in Jerusalem in October 2013.