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Obituary: Emanuel Tanay

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  • | 4:00 a.m. August 13, 2014
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Dr. Emanuel Tanay, 86, of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Longboat Key, died Aug. 5.

Born March 5, 1928, Dr. Tanay survived the Holocaust in Poland and Hungary, living on false papers to conceal the fact that he was a Jew. With his father confined to and later killed at the Plaszow concentration camp, he became the leader of his family and saved the lives of his mother, sister, Olenka, and childhood sweetheart, Gina. His family was liberated in 1945 in Budapest. Dr. Tanay recounted his experiences in his book, “Passport to Life: Autobiographical Reflections on the Holocaust.”

Dr. Tanay was a forensic psychiatrist and expert witness in many cases, including those of Jack Ruby, Ted Bundy, Sam Sheppard and Robert Garwood. He authored a book on homicide and “American Legal Injustice: Behind the Scenes with an Expert Witness.” He also co-authored a psychiatric book about Holocaust survivors.

Dr. Tanay was a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Science and received the highest award from the Academy for Psychiatry and the Law. He was a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and past president of the Michigan Psychiatric Society.

Dr. Tanay is survived by is wife, Sandra, of Ann Arbor; daughters Elaine Tanay, of Charleston, S.C., and Anita Hersh, of Highland Park, Ill.; son, David, of Okemos, Mich.; and six grandchildren.

A celebration of Dr. Tanay’s life will take place Sept. 13, in Ann Arbor, Mich. To read Dr. Tanay’s full obituary, visit



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