Guttman (born May 20, 1923; died October 1, 2013) was born in Warsaw. During the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, he was captured in the bunker at 30 Franczeskanska Street and was later sent to concentration camps at Majdanek, Mauthausen and Auschwitz. He joined the undergound in Auschwitz and helped smuggle in explosives that were used to blow up one of the gas chambers.
In January 1945, Guttman survived the death march from Auschwitz to Mauthausen and was liberated by U.S. forces. In the immediate post-war period, he joined the Jewish Brigade in Italy. In 1946, he immigrated to Israel and settled on Kibbutz Lehavot HaBashan. In 1961, he testified at the trial of Adolf Eichmann.
Guttman was a professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and eventually became one of Israel's most prominent historians of the Holocaust and Warsaw Jews. At Yad Vashem, he headed the International Institute for Holocaust Research (1993–1996), served as Chief Historian (1996–2000) and was the Academic Advisor (from 2000). He was also an advisor to the Polish government on Jewish Affairs, Judaism and Holocaust Commemoration.
Guttman passed away in Jerusalem on October 1, 2013. He was 90 years old.