About Menachem Mendal Klein
Ernest Klein, OC (July 26, 1899 – February 4, 1983) was a Romanian-born Canadian linguist, author, and rabbi.
Ernest Klein was born to his parents Yitzchok (Ignac) and Sarah Rachel (Roza) Klein nee Friedrich on July 26, 1899 at 6 p.m. in Szatmárnémeti (present-day Satu Mare), in Partium—a region of Austria-Hungary at the time, now in Romania.
Ernest Klein's father Yitzchok (Ignac) was a brilliant man. He was rabbi of the Jewish Status Quo Community in his town and author of over 20 books on Rabbinical Subjects, including;
Hebrew Torah Journal Ohel Yitzchok (printed in Satu Mare, 1903–1914). Hebrew Book Zichron L'Yisroel (printed in Satu Mare, 1912). Hebrew Torah Journal Sefer Hamagid (printed in Satu Mare, 1928–1934). Hebrew Torah Journal Magid Yeruchem. (printed in Satu Mare, 1925–1930). Hebrew Book Kol Ha'chatan (printed in Satu Mare, 1937).
Klein's mother Rachel (Roza) Klein (née Friedrich) also had rabbinical lineage. She was one of the daughters of Chaim (Jakob) Friedrich who was Rabbi of the Orthodox Community in Turţ, Satu Mare County, Romania.
From early on in Ernest Klein's childhood, his greatness was already noted. At the young age of nine years old, Klein was able to recite the entire Book of Psalms by heart. As a youth in Hungary, Klein spent his free time in between classes learning new languages. Remarkably, at the age of 15, Klein taught himself English using English language textbooks. Klein had a great talent in learning languages. In a interview by The Canadian Jewish News (August 1, 1975), Klein recalls traveling from Satu Mare, Romania, his birthplace, to Austria, a little uneasy at the prospect of studying in a foreign country were he did not know the language. Klein taught himself German during the few days journey, and by the end of the year he was the best pupil in his class. Later, over the years Klein acquired knowledge and knew over 40 languages.
Klein studied in the University of Budapest and the University of Vienna languages, philology and exact philosophy. He received his Doctorate of Philosophy at the University of Vienna in 1925. Fifty years later, in 1975 at a ceremony held in Canada by the Austrian Consulate, Klein was awarded the "Golden Ph.D" on his promotion to Doctorate of Philosophy by the University of Vienna.
He was the rabbi of the Nové Zámky community, Czechoslovakia, from 1938 Érsekújvár, Hungary, now Slovak Republic, from 1929 to 1944. In 1944, he was deported to Auschwitz and later to the Dachau concentration camp, where he was liberated. After the war he served as rabbi in Satu Mare. After emigrating to France, he was a rabbi of the synagogue on Rue de Montevideo in Paris (1950–1951) and in 1952 he emigrated to Canada, where he held the post of Rabbi of Congregation Beth Yitshak in Toronto until his death.
He is the author of A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language (1966–1967).
He is also the author of A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language for Readers of English (1987), an English-language etymological dictionary of Hebrew to which he devoted the last ten years of his life.
In 1978, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.