W. Gunther Plaut was born in Germany, but in 1935 fled the Nazis for the United States, where he became a rabbi. He was President of the Canadian Jewish Congress and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and from 1978 to 1985 served as Vice-Chair of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Rabbi Plaut received nineteen honorary degrees and was a Companion of the Order of Canada. He published twenty-five books. Rabbi Plaut passed away in February 2011.