Professor Reicher, who was born in Prague, in what was then Czechoslovakia, was one of Australia’s leading international law and taxation experts. As a Barrister, he has appeared on numerous occasions in the High Court of Australia, and also the courts of England (up to the House of Lords) and the United States, and has been involved in landmark cases in the areas of international human rights, international environmental law and Australian tax and corporate law.
As an academic, Professor Reicher taught for many years at Monash University in Melbourne (and also the University of Melbourne Law School), and has been a professor at a number of law schools in the United States. His original legal training was undertaken at Monash University, with postgraduate studies at the University of Melbourne and Harvard Law School. For the last 19 years, since 1995, he has been teaching at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where, in 2003, he was the recipient of the Law School’s inaugural adjunct teaching award. He is presently also Professor of Law and Scholar-in-Residence at Touro Law Center.
Among the courses he teaches are:
• Law and the Holocaust, which is a novel course that examines the Nazi philosophy of law, emanating from the racial ideology, and how it was used to pervert Germany’s legal system, to discriminate against, ostracize, dehumanize, and eventually eliminate, certain classes of people; and then, to consider the role of international law in rectifying the damage by bringing perpetrators to justice and constructing a system of international human rights aimed at preventing a repetition.
• International Human Rights, which examines the evolution of the status of the individual in international law from a mere appendage of his/her state, to a fully-fledged legal person, with enforceable rights and obligations. It relates the subject-matter of the course to the Holocaust, which was the catalyst for the whole human rights movement of the post-World War II era. A special section deals with religious freedom in international law, and among other things, examines case studies from Professor Reicher’s practice in the area.
Harry Reicher has published in the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, and he edited the first indigenous Australian casebook on international law. His recent publications include: "Medicine in the Third Reich: The 65th Anniversary of the Doctors’ Trial at Nuremberg,” in Penn Medicine, and "Evading Responsibility for Crimes against Humanity: Murderous Lawyers at Nuremberg,” as Chapter 6 in Steinweis and Rachlin (eds), The Law in Nazi Germany: Ideology, Opportunism, and the Perversion of Justice (Berghahn, 2013). His book, provisionally entitled Holocaust: The Legal Dimension, will be published by Oxford University Press.
From 1995 to 2004, he was Representative to the United Nations of Agudath Israel World Organization, a 102-year-old international NGO, which has consultative status with the world body. In this capacity, he worked, at the legal and diplomatic levels, on promotion of international human rights, with special emphasis on freedom of religion. In particular, he worked for the protection and preservation of Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe; to protect Jewish schools there threatened with closure; and in a range of other areas.
He was also Director of International Affairs of Agudath Israel World Organization, which is a constituent of the Claims Conference and the World Jewish Restitution Organization. In this capacity, he was heavily involved in Holocaust-era restitution, reparations and compensation, and the plethora of litigation arising therefrom, and was one of two principal co-authors of a major brief in the Swiss banks litigation.
In recognition of his pioneering work on the legal dimension to the Holocaust, in January, 2004, President Bush appointed Professor Reicher to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, which conducts the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Washington, DC, on which he served until April, 2008, and he also served on the Museum’s Academic Committee and Committee on Conscience. Also in January 2004, the Mayor of Saratoga, Florida, presented him with the Key to the City. In April, 2004, the City of Bayonne, New Jersey, proclaimed April 18 to be “Professor Harry Reicher Day”, and the two Houses of the New Jersey State Legislature passed a Joint Resolution applauding his work. In April 2014, he was selected to be the USC Shoah Foundation 2014-15 Rutman Teaching Fellow, in recognition of his work incorporating film and still photography into teaching of the legal dimension to the Holocaust, encompassing clips from archival footage, and excerpts from documentaries and films, with the intention of enabling the development of a facility with the USC Shoah Foundation's archive of over 50,000 visual testimonies of Holocaust survivors, and the incorporation of relevant excerpts into his teaching and public speaking.
Harry Reicher lives with his wife, and their teenage son, Aaron, in the Boro Park section of Brooklyn, where he is part of its thriving chassidic milieu, being a member of the Bobover community, led by Rabbi Mordechai D Unger and Rabbi Joshua Rubin.