By Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz Correspondent

At the ripe age of 81, a Holocaust survivor from Haifa has received a PhD for a thesis showing how Auschwitz-Birkenau began as a camp for coerced laborers working for a mismanaged Nazi industrial project.

“My life never had much of a linear or logical course,” Eliezer Schwartz said when asked why he decided to enter academia so late in the game.

Before he began researching the Nazi concentration and extermination camp in Poland, Schwartz worked for many years as project head and urban planner for Solel Boneh, the Israeli construction giant.

When Schwartz retired at 75, his three grandchildren advised him to write a doctoral thesis, which he wrote with pen and paper. “Computer skills are a bit much for me now,” he said