Wolf Dorfman

Reciprocal trade with East - News, Adelaide, 28 June 1924, p. 4

Wolf (William) Dorfman
Courtesy of Dorfman family

Alias William

Russian spelling

Вольф Дорфман

Born 15.12.1886

Place Rovno, Volyn, Ukraine

Ethnic origin Jewish

Religion Jewish

Father Mordko Dorfman

Mother Haia Dveira Dorfman


Wife Emilie Dorfman (nee Cadwallander), daughter Betty Dorfman (b. 1928)

Residence before arrival at Australia Served in the Russian Army for 3 years; traveled in Germany, Austria, USA, China, Japan and the Philippines

Arrived at Australia
from the Phillipine Islands
on 5.05.1915
per Nikko Maru
disembarked at Sydney

Residence before enlistment Sydney

Occupation 1915 commercial traveller, clerk, 1931 merchant, engaged in trade with Far East; 1934 hotel licensee, 1942 hotel keeper, 1949 manufacturer, 1954 merchant

service number 4477
enlisted 21.06.1915
POE Liverpool, Sydney
unit 13th Battalion, 54th Battalion
rank Private
place Western Front, 1916
casualties MIA, POW 1916-1918
final fate RTA 5.03.1919
discharged 12.06.1919

Naturalisation 1919

Residence after the war 1919-23 visits from Australia to England, the Continent and the Far East, since 1922 lived in China for 4 years; 1924 Shanghai; 1927 Melbourne; 1928 Essendon, Vic.; 1931 Picola, Vic; 1934 Melbourne; 1942 Gembrook, Vic.; 1949 Melbourne; 1954 Victoria Park, WA; 1967 Forest Hill, Vic.

Died 6.05.1969, Melbourne


Digitised naturalisation (NAA)

Digitised service records (NAA)

Digitised Embarkation roll entry (AWM)

Digitised Red Cross wounded and missing file (AWM)

Statements made by prisoners of war: ... 4477 Dorfman (AWM)

Red Cross POW file (AWM)

Digitised investigation branch file (NAA)

Family Tree on Ancestry.com

Blog article



Newspaper publications

Soldiers' letters. [...] Private W.Dorfman. - Barrier Miner, Broken Hill, 2 July 1916, p. 2.

Acknowledgments. - Barrier Miner, Broken Hill, 1 July 1917, p. 2.

Reciprocal trade with East - News, Adelaide, 28 June 1924, p. 4.

'A passenger by the steamer Mishisma Maru ... Mr. Wolf Dorfman...' - Townsville Daily Bulletin, 4 June 1926, p. 4.

From Russian Anzacs in Australian History:

[...] from stories like Wolf Dorfman's, we can see that conscription usually had the same uprooting effect on Jews that it did on others. Dorfman failed to return home to Rovno (now in Ukraine), remaining in the Far East, after his period of service; in 1915 he migrated to Queensland.

From Falling stars: The story of Anzacs from Ukraine:

When the war broke out, Wolf Dorfman, a commercial traveller who conducted business in Europe, USA and Asia, was in the Philippines. On arrival in Sydney in May 1915 he enlisted in the AIF and was allocated to the reinforcements of the 13th Battalion. It was too late for Gallipoli, but in March 1916 his battalion was shipped to Egypt for training. There Dorfman was lonely until one day he received a letter from a Broken Hill boy, R. Hooper. It was part of an Australia-wide home-front movement of writing letters to soldiers who had nobody to write to. This simple gesture meant a lot to Dorfman and on 24 April 1916 he sent a warm and sincere letter to the boy, talking about himself and his service in Egypt.