ROTHSCHILD, KURT (1920– ), Canadian businessman and philanthropist. Rothschild was born into a prominent family in Cologne, Germany, where he attended Jewish schools. In 1938 he escaped Nazi Germany to England. In 1940 he became one of thousands of Germans and Austrians rounded up and detained in Britain after the fall of France as Britain feared a German invasion. Rothschild was transferred by ship to Canada, along with more than 2,200 mostly Jewish refugees, where, as an "enemy alien," he spent more than a year in Canadian internment camps. After his Canadian release, Rothschild attended Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. He graduated in 1946 with a degree in electrical engineering.
Rothschild founded and was chairman of the State Group, a large multi-trade, construction and management company. Through its involvement in a number of commercial construction projects, the State Group helped reshape the Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver skylines. The firm was also a major contractor to the automotive, steel and petrochemical industries.
Rothschild retired from business in 1987 to devote himself entirely to community service in Israel, Canada, the United States, South America, and Central and Eastern Europe. A fervent supporter of Jewish education, Rothschild was active on the Boards of Yeshiva University, Bar-Ilan University, Jerusalem College of Technology, Yeshivat Hakotel, and Toronto's Eitz Chaim School. He was also an active member of the Canada-Israel Committee and uja Federation of Toronto. Rothschild's numerous communal leadership positions include chairman of World Mizrachi, president of Canadian Mizrachi, president of Canadian Zionist Federation, member of the Boards of Jerusalem's Sha'arei Zedek Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital of Toronto.
[Paula Draper (2nd ed.)]