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Memorable Manitobans: Arnold Frieman (1928-2019)

Businessman, philanthropist.

Born at Satoraljaujhely, Hungary in 1928, one of six children in an Orthodox Jewish family, he was attending secondary school in Budapest when his family was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. He spent several months in a labour camp before escaping. After the Second World War ended, he went to Norway where he studied electronics then he volunteered in the Israeli Air Force during the War of Independence (1947-1949). He moved from Norway to Canada in 1951 and settled at Winnipeg, financing education at the University of Manitoba by repairing automobile radios. He graduated with a BA degree in 1960 and married Myra Thompson, with whom he had two daughters. In 1962, he bought a small television repair shop and grew it into Advance Electronics, the largest independent electronics store in western Canada. An active philanthropist at the local, provincial, national, and international levels, he supported the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Manitoba Opera. In recognition of his community service, he was inducted into the Order of Manitoba (2006), and received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002), Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), and an honorary doctorate from the University of Manitoba (2018). He died at Winnipeg on 5 April 2019 and was buried in the Shaarey Zedek Cemetery.


Advance founder, Arnold Frieman, dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 April 2019.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 9 April 2019.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 9 April 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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