Robert Katz

Robert Katz (27 June 1933 – 20 October 2010)[1] was an American novelist, screenwriter, and non-fiction author.[2]

Robert Katz
Born(1933-06-27)27 June 1933
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died20 October 2010(2010-10-20) (aged 77)
Tuscany, Italy
OccupationWriter, novelist, screenwriter, journalist, non-fiction author, professor
Spouse(s)Beverly Gerstel (m. 1957)
ChildrenStephen Lee Katz, Jonathan Howard Katz


Katz was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Sidney and Helen Katz, née Holland, and married Beverly Gerstel on September 22, 1957. The couple had two sons: Stephen Lee Katz, Jonathan Howard Katz.

He studied at Brooklyn College 1951–53 and went on to be a photojournalist and writer at the United Hias Service, NYC 1953–57; at the American Cancer Society[3] in New York (1958–63); and then at the United Nations in New York and Rome (1963–64). He was a freelance writer from 1964 until his death.

He fulfilled academic roles at numerous institutions, including being Visiting Professor of Investigative Journalism at the University of California, Santa Cruz (1986–92). Awarded an ongoing Guggenheim Fellowship in 1970, he had also been a fellow of Adlai E. Stevenson College, University of California during 1986 to 1992. He became a grantee of the American Council of Learned Societies in 1971 and a recipient of the Laceno d'Oro (best screenplay) award at the Neorealist Film Festival[4][5] in Avellino, Italy (1983).

Katz was involved in a criminal-libel lawsuit in Italy over the contents of his book Death in Rome, in which he was charged with "defaming the memory of the Pope" Pius XII regarding the Ardeatine Massacre of 335 Italians, including 70 Jews, at the Ardeatine Caves in 1944. He was found guilty but the charges were rendered moot by a general amnesty.[6][7] The book was made into the 1973 film Massacre in Rome starring Richard Burton.[3]

Katz lived for many years in Tuscany, Italy. He died October 20, 2010, in Montevarchi, Italy, as a result of complications from cancer surgery.[8]

Non-fiction writings


  • The Cassandra Crossing, Ballantine, 1976.
  • Ziggurat, Houghton, 1977.
  • The Spoils of Ararat, Houghton, 1978.



  1. Washington Post reports death retrieved 21st October 2010
  2. "Robert Katz". All Things Katz. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  3. Brown, Emma (October 21, 2010). "Robert Katz, 77, wrote history of WWII massacre in Italy". Washington Post. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  4. "Official site of Laceno d'oro" (in Italian). Retrieved December 18, 2012."Official site of Laceno d'oro". Retrieved December 18, 2012.
  5. "Avellino Neorealism Film Festival". Retrieved December 18, 2012.
  6. "Where there's holy smoke there's fire," 24 September 1999, Times Higher Education, retrieved 1 July 2009.
  7. "The End of the Pius Wars," Joseph Bottum, First Things Magazine, April 2004, retrieved 1 July 2006.
  8. Weber, Bruce (October 22, 2010). "Robert Katz, Who Wrote About Nazi Massacre in Italy, Dies at 77". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
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