Professor Frederick Ehrlich OAM was born on 23rd of March 1932 in Czernowitz in the Bukovina. As a penniless young survivor of the Holocaust, Fred came to Sydney in late 1947 at age 15 with minimal English language, and with just two years of schooling at North Sydney Boys High, he left school as Dux, and gained a scholarship entry to Sydney University Medical School.
From his traumatic beginnings, Fred rose to great heights to become one of Australia’s most forward thinkers and achievers. His career in medicine and academia spanned psychiatry, orthopaedic surgery, geriatrics and rehabilitation.
Central to Fred’s legacy was his holistic view that medicine is about helping people, not just treating ailments. He urged those in the health profession to have a ‘total care’ approach to medicine and encouraged active social intervention.
Fred’s very many and varied social contributions in his community were especially strong in the areas of teaching and learning. A life-long learner Fred was instrumental in starting Masada College, a successful Jewish day school in Sydney’s North Shore. The school had humble beginnings with a kindergarten created with his old friend Leo Marks. Fred was the founding President of Masada College, where he encouraged the implementation of a progressive, informal ‘child-based learning’ model that was quite radical for its time.
Fred often attributed this educational philosophy to his own experience of learning during the Holocaust. Fred’s mentor Dr Sigmund Sturm was a philologist and an expert educator, who lived in the cramped quarters of the Czernowitz ghetto with Fred and his family. He became Fred’s only source of education during his childhood, and instilled in Fred his love for learning and thirst for knowledge, something that would guide Fred throughout his life.
Fred is survived by his wife of 58 years, Shirley, his 6 children, 19 grandchildren and one great grandchild.