Former Quebec judge and politician Maximilien Polak, a well known leader in the Quebec Jewish community, has passed away at the age of 92.
Polak, a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands in the 1950s, was a Quebec court judge for over 15 years after leaving provincial politics in the late eighties.
“B’nai Brith Canada was saddened to learn of the passing of Max Polak. Max was a Holocaust survivor, lawyer, municipal and superior court judge in Quebec, and member of Quebec’s National Assembly. Our condolences to his family,” B’nai Brith Canada tweeted.
B’nai Brith’s Marvin Rotrand said in a statement that Polak was a "strong voice for minority" rights while he was in office.
"He was a distinguished lawyer graduating from the University of Montreal in French at a time when few Jewish students completed their degrees there," Rotrand said.
Polak came to Canada from the Netherlands in 1952 where he settled in Quebec, eventually completing a law degree at the Université de Montréal, according to CTV News.
In the 1960s, he moved from practicing law to become a municipal judge in Côte-Saint-Luc. In 1981, he entered provincial politics with the Quebec Liberals, serving as deputy whip. But in 1989, he returned to the bench as a Quebec court judge, a position he held until he retired in 2005.
"Max Polak was the embodiment of a mensch. He was compassionate, inquisitive, witty and welcoming; a family man well loved by all who knew him," Rotrant said. "The passing of Max Polak leaves a void for the Jewish community and for Canadian society."
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