Shlomo Shoham was born in Lithuania in 1929 and immigrated to Israel in 1935. He is married and had a son and daughter, the former was killed in the Yom Kippur War. Following his son’s death he added Giora (his son's name) to his name.
Shoham fought in the War of Independence in the Neve Daniel Gush Etzion Convoy that was called upon to provide assistance for the Gush Etzion Bloc which ultimately surrendered, resulting in his capture by the Jordanians.
Shoham was in the first class from the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to graduate for both his Juris Doctor (JD) and PhD. He also studied Criminology at Cambridge University.
A doctoral thesis by Jean Falisse from the University of Milwaukee was written about him, entitled, ‘The Mytho-Empiricism of S.Giora Shoham.’ There was also a lecture series on him by Mark Seis in 1990.
Shoham founded Bar-Ilan University’s Institute of Criminology. Ten years later he founded Tel-Aviv University’s Department of Criminology.
Shoham is a teacher and scholar at the Faculty of Law in Tel-Aviv University. In the past he held a wide variety of roles including: Assistant District Attorney of Jerusalem, Assistant to Israel’s Attorney General, a co-representative of Israel at the International Congress of Comparative Law, the Denis Carrol International Award Representative for Israel held at the meeting of the Directors of Criminological Research Institutes at Council of Europe. In 1985 he was Harvard University’s Center for Jewish Studies’ Visiting Scholar.
Working with Professor Yehuda Fried, Shoham has put together a technique to treat drug addicts, investigating social deviance, detailing a unique personality theory to comprehend crime and deviation. He has published books on this, the most notable of one which was translated into many languages – The Mark of Cain.
Shoham also refined a micro-macro theory of criminology, expressed through his book Valhalla, Calvary and Auschwitz, proving a macro-criminological perspective can be applied to explain the Nazi movement and using a macro-victimological thesis, the Holocaust can be better comprehended.
Shoham is on the Cohen Committee (that deals with penal methods and criminological research). Previously, he was a member of the Australian Society of Forensic Sciences. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Society of Criminology and a Member of the Scientific Commission at the International Center of Sociological, Penal and Penitentiary Research, in Italy in 1981. He was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board, Institute of Criminology and Penology and Penitentiary Research and Studies. He sat on the Board of Directors at the Directors Research Committee for the Sociology of Deviance and Social Control. He was also a member of the research committee at the International Sociological Association Louvain, University, Belgium.
He held the role of Chairman at the International Sociological Association. He was on the committee for the Classification of Prisoners in Israel. He was Vice President on the Research Committee on Alienation, at the International Sociological Association.
In 2003 Shoham received the Israel Prize in 2003. Upon this, the statement of the jury read: “Prof. Shlomo Giora Shoham is awarded the EMET Prize for his contribution to the formulation of original and profound ideas in varied fields of criminology and penal theory, and for setting himself the goal of developing criminology as a scientific socio-legal branch. He was one of the pioneers and path-finders in Israel in teaching and research of the field, including the founding of institutes of criminology and criminal law at the Bar-Ilan and Tel-Aviv universities." In 1975 he was the Israel recipient of the Presidential Citation for “outstanding achievement in the field of criminology” from the American Society of Criminology. Two years later he received the Sellin-Glueck Award from the American Society of Criminology. He received a Medal of Honor presented from the French Prime Minister for his contribution in the field of international criminology. In 1991 he received the Annual Award of the World Society of Legal Medicine, for Significant Scientific Contribution.
Shoham has written many books by a slew of different publishers. Here is a list of some of the most recent ones.