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Dr. A. J. Kaufman

Birth Date: 01/12/2002

Abraham Josevich Kaufman (Абрам Иосифович Кауфман) was born on 22 November 1885 in Megilne (Мглине), Russia in the ex- Chernihovsky Region (бывшей Черниговской губернии). He graduated from classic gymnasium in Prem (Перм) in 1903.

Because of existing quotas of the day governing the percentage of Jewish students in institutes of learning Kaufman was not accepted in the Kazan University (Казанский университет). He  then left to Switzerland. In 1909 he graduated form the medical faculty. 

In his youth A. Kaufman was active in the Zionist movement. From 1900 one of the leaders of the Bnei Zion movement in Prem was student A. Kaufman 

From the very first days in Berne, Switzerland A. Kaufman in the Berne Academic Group, whose members included such historic Bilu figures as Usishkin, Mertman, Mosinson, Bograchev, Jacob Kogan and others. For a number of years Dr. Kaufman was active in the directorate of the Academic Group.

On the completion of his University studies in Berne, Dr. Kaufman worked in Prem, and devotes all of his spare time to Zionist causes, in the Moscow region of the Zionist region under Dr. E. V. Chlenov (Е.В.Членов). He visited several cities propounding and lecturing on Zionist literature history and ideals, and managed the affairs of the Zionist organization Hovavei Zion (хавевей-цион) which was headed by his father and old member of the organization, Yosef Zalmonovich Kaufman

1912 finds Dr. Kaufman in Harbin, Manchuria where he remained till 1945. During this period Dr. Kaufman headed a number of Jewish cultural institutions and heads the Zionist Organization of Harbin and of all the Zionist organization of the Far East. From 1921 to 1943 when the publication was closed by the Japanese authorities, Dr. Kaufman was the editor of the weekly Zionist publication “Jewish Life” (Еврейская жизнь)

Dr. Kaufman was a delegate to the International Zionist Organization from 1921. He headed the Keren Kayemeth, Keren Hayesod< Palestine-AMT (Палестна-АМТ). From 1937 Dr. Kaufman headed the National Organization (Национального Совета) of the Jews of the Far East, and acted as the head of “Vaad Haleumi”  (Ваад-Галеуми) for the three Jewish Congresses held in Harbin in 1937,1938 and 1939. Permission to hold the fourth Congress was denied by the Japanese Authorities bowing to pressure of the German Embassy in Tokyo. 

Dr. Kaufman played a major role in the fate of Jewish refugees from Germany who found refuge in Manchuria, China and Japan. Dr. Kaufman oversaw and headed the committee that provided services to the refugees. He played an important role in assisting 20,000 refugees from Nazi Germany.

On the 21st of August 1945 Dr. Kaufman together with Armenian, Georgian, Tartar, Ukraininan, Latvian and other community leaders were invited to meet the the command of the Red Army in Harbin (Soviet). 
He together with two of his collegues Anatoly Grigorevich Orlovsky (Анатоли Григорьевич Орловски) and the treasurer of the community Moses Gdalievich Zimin (Моисее Гдальевич Зимин) were arrested and exiled to Russia. M. Zimin died in the Stalinist camps, whilst Dr. Kaufman and Orlovsky eventually emigrated to Israel.

In 1956 Dr. Kaufman was released from the camp but was forced to remain in Karagande (Kazakhstan - Караганде (Казахстан)). After 15 refusals by the Russian Authorities to release him, he being stateless was given an Israeli passport by the Israeli Ambassador to Moscow.

On the 25th of March 1961 Dr. Kaufman arrived in Israel. He remained there for the next ten years. He passed away in Beilinson hospital on the 25th of March 1971. Whilst in Israel Dr. Kaufman worked as a specialist in Children’s diseases in the health fund of the Histaruth. He retired three months prior.