BiographyFred Kaufman was born in1924 in Vienna, Austria, an only child in a middle-class family. He was raised in a non-Orthodox Jewish home and celebrated a traditional bar mitzvah. After the Anschluss, Kaufman's parents arranged for him to be sent to England on a Kindertransport on July 25, 1939.
In England, Kaufman was placed with the Fell family and he attended high school and worked on the family farm. Although not Jewish, the Fells saw that Kaufman attend synagogue for the High Holy Days. In May 1940, Kaufman was classified as a Category "C" refugee from Nazi oppression. On May 12, 1940, he was taken to the police station for what he was told would be only "two or three days." Kaufman was interned in England for about three weeks, first in Huyton and then on the Isle of Man.
He was deported to Canada on the S.S. Sobieski on July 4, 1940. In Canada, Kaufman was interned in Camp T (Trois-Rivières, Quebec), Camp B (Ripples, New Brunswick), and Camp N (Sherbrooke, Quebec). He was sponsored by Rabbi and Mrs. Abraham Mittleman and released from internment on March 13, 1942.
Upon release, Kaufman reunited with his parents at his high school graduation in Sherbrooke, Quebec. They managed to flee Austria through Lisbon and settle in New York. Kaufman obtained undergraduate degrees from Bishop’s University and the Université de Montréal, a law degree from McGill University and an MBA from Concordia University. In 1973, he was appointed by the federal government to the Quebec Court of Appeal, where he served as a judge for eighteen years. Throughout his career, he has taught in the Faculties of Law, Management and Medicine at McGill. Kaufman was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1992, and of the Royal Society of Canada in 2002. He lives in Toronto.