Nov 2001 Journal

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Obituary: Max Kochmann

With the death of Max Kochmann at 80, the AJR, and the wider refugee community, has lost one of its truly outstanding servants. Communal service was a Kochmann family trait. Max's father, Hans-Heinrich, had been a warden of Berlin's Fasanenstrasse Synagogue and over here his mother Friedl occupied various voluntary communal posts till she turned 90.

Max arrived in the UK in mid-1939, having taken his Abitur after Kristallnacht. He entered an engineering apprenticeship, and made such strides that at 21 he was a manager in a factory whose 300-strong workforce made cutting tools for arms production. Two years later he married Hilde Kohn, a Gleiwitz-born pre-war acquaintance, with whom he had two children.

After the war Max Kochmann transferred his engineering and management skills to chemical firms engaged in the manufacture of pigments before starting up his own company, Pafra, in 1960. A medium-sized enterprise, it produced adhesives and had a Research and Development laboratory at Cambridge Science Park. Max involved himself in the work of the British Adhesives and Sealants Association and of the British Standards Institute. He also immersed himself in the civic life of Basildon, where he served for 14 years on the local Magistrates' Panel.

As far as the refugee community is concerned, Max put his financial and organisational expertise unstintingly at the service of no less than four institutions. He was, at different times, Honorary Treasurer and Chairman of the AJR, Honorary Treasurer of Belsize Square Synagogue, President (as well as Housing Committee Chairman) of the Leo Baeck Lodge of B'nai B'rith, and chief fundraiser for the Centre for German-Jewish Studies at Sussex University.
Truly, Max could 'force the unforgiving minute to give him sixty seconds' worth of distance run'. The entire AJR extends condolences to Hilde and her family.
Richard Grunberger

A personal note from the Chairman: When I became chairman in 1996, Max gave me every possible support. His real and lasting legacy to the AJR can be seen in the healthy state of our investments, to which he devoted an enormous amount of time. His financial skills and husbanding of our resources have given the AJR the financial skill to deliver the present wide-ranging services to our members. Max was a true servant to our refugee community. He will be sorely missed.
Andrew Kaufman

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