The sinologist Willy Tonn was born in Berlin in 1902. In 1924, he graduated from the Seminary for Oriental languages after having studied Chinese, Manchu, Vedic, Sanskrit, Prakrit, Pali, and Tibetan. He emigrated to Shanghai (Hongkou Qu) in 1939, working as a professor for literature at the Tung Te University, and as a lector for the Shanghai Jewish Club the Society of Friends (Quakers). He also served as director at the Asia Seminar, before teaching Chinese linguistics and comparative philology at Tsinan State University, Shanghai. Tonn emigrated to Israel in 1949, working for Israeli museums and publishing, sometimes under the pseudonym Wolf Torno. Willy Tonn died in Switzerland in 1957.
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Willy Tonn, Leo Baeck Institute, F 2663D.