Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Judith Veronika Kopstein Weiszmann (1930-2014)

Engineer, community activist.

Born at Budapest, Hungary on 30 January 1930, the only child of Andor Weiszmann and Katalin Kenedi, during the Second World War her family was protected through the efforts of Swedish businessman-turned-diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. She met her future husband, Erwin Weiszmann (1923-2011), at a summer camp in 1948 and married him in 1953. The following year, she graduated with an engineering degree from the Budapest Technical University. They fled the country following the failed 1956 Hungarian Revolution and arrived in Canada in 1957.

Her husband was employed as a design engineer by Winnipeg Hydro and she worked for a couple of local architectural and engineering firms. Her request for formal accreditation as an engineer was rejected because of a name change by the institution from which she had received her engineering degree. In 1959, she and her husband formed an engineering consulting business that they operated until retirement in 2007, and she received an iron ring, the symbol of an accredited engineer, in 1961. After challenging all exams to receive university credits, in 1969 she became the first woman to be a registered professional engineer in Manitoba.

She was recognized with a Merit Award from the Association of Professional Engineers of Manitoba in 1994. During her later years, she spoke on numerous occasions on her experiences as a Holocaust survivor and the Wallenberg documents she received during the war were featured on a commemorative stamp from Canada Post.

She died at Winnipeg on 27 May 2014 and was buried in the Shaarey Zedek Cemetery.

Sources:

“Woman engineer gets iron ring,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 April 1961, page 17.

Obituary [Erwin Weiszmann], Winnipeg Free Press, 5 November 2011.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 30 May 2014.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 21 June 2014.

We thank Ann Weiszmann for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 28 February 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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