In appreciation for his longstanding participation in AmCham Taipei, the Chamber’s Board of Governors has voted to present E.F. (Ephraim Ferdinand) Einhorn with a Lifetime Honorary Membership. Einhorn, who refers to himself as “97 years young,” is a man of a rare combination of talents, including businessman, scholar, rabbi, linguist, and practitioner of private diplomacy.
Those meeting Dr. Einhorn for the first time are often surprised that after handing over their business card, they receive not just one card in return but a whole set. The current standard set of seven includes cards identifying him as president of World Patent Trading Co., senior vice president of the World Trade Center Warsaw, honorary representative of the Polish Chamber of Commerce, honorary chairman of Republicans Overseas Taiwan, holder of several responsible positions for the Rotary Club of Taiwan, honorary secretary of state of Montana, and honorary citizen of Nebraska. Those of Jewish faith will receive an additional card as the rabbi of the Taiwan Jewish Community.
Among the many languages he speaks – besides a cultured English – are German, Hungarian, Hebrew, Italian, French, and several dialects of Yiddish, not to mention a grounding in Latin.
Born in Vienna in 1918, Einhorn received his early schooling in Austria and Italy before going to Britain as a teenager. He graduated from the Etz Chaim Seminary (Tree of Life College) in London with a doctorate in philosophy and received his ordination as a rabbi. But with the outbreak of World War II and the onset of the German Blitz, he spent several years in rural areas teaching children who had been evacuated from the cities. Then, despite the continuing rocket attacks, he accepted an invitation to be rabbi of the West Ham Synagogue in London.
After the war he held positions with the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland and the World Jewish Congress as head of the information department. In the following years he undertook numerous, often-clandestine missions to countries in North Africa and the Middle East to try to help Jewish minority communities facing persecution.
Moving to North America, Einhorn served as a rabbi in such cities as Toronto, Detroit, and Los Angeles. But in a career change, he founded the World Patent Trading Co. in 1968 and oversaw its operations in Prague from 1968 to 1972, making regular business trips to the various countries in Eastern Europe. He came to Taiwan in 1975, and has been here ever since. Besides his business activities and officiating at Jewish religious services, he has been an active member of many community organizations, including AmCham, Rotary, the European Chamber, and the American Club.
He has also used his Eastern European contacts to help the Taiwan government forge or improve unofficial connections with many countries, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. “I am delighted to have been able to help in the development of this budding democracy and its international connections,” Einhorn told TOPICS. “I also have the highest regard for what AmCham has contributed over the years in supporting Taiwan’s economic and social development.”