George was born in a suburb of Budapest in 1930, where his father made machinery for tanneries and his mother’s family owned a large tannery. During the Second World War, they were amongst 40,000 Jewish Hungarian beneficiaries of the generosity of the El Salvador government, who provided them with visas and Salvadorian birth certificates. When Hungary was occupied in 1944, the family was able to use them to escape the death squads and take refuge in the Swiss Embassy.

In 1947, after the Russian liberation, they decided to move to England, aided again by their Salvadorian documents. George won a British Council Scholarship to St. Bees School in Cumberland. His uncle, Andrew Vigodny, had established the famous West Coast Chrome Tannery in Millom, Cumbria in 1938 and, after school, George studied Leather Science at Leeds University as the first student to receive a scholarship set up by the Millom Tannery.

Subsequently, he worked for Millom before becoming Manager of a tannery in Puerto Rico. He subsequently worked around the world and moved into the leather chemical area joining Stahl Chemicals. He subsequently returned to the UK and will be remembered for his long period as Managing Director of Stahl GB.

During this time, he gave the 1973 B.M.Das Memorial Lecture in India and, about a decade later, he left Stahl to become Managing Director of the trading business Kauffman Demuth. He retired to London and spoke at the memorial luncheon at Leathersellers Hall for Dr Robert Sykes in 2019.

In early 2020, he thanked El Salvador for their wartime kindness at a packed event in London where he detailed his family’s story and the immense difference the initiative had made to so many lives. George made it clear that we should forgive but never forget.

At that time, he started the process of getting a book written on the history of the UK leather trade. He put a great deal of effort into turning this into a reality and the project has now been set up with a small steering committee, headed by Jonathan Muirhead, who have contracted a historian for the work. George led the many personal donations, now supported by industry and others, that have laid the foundation for its completion and was in discussions about the book in the weeks and days prior to his passing.

George Donath used his years to the full and leaves a wonderful legacy in circles far beyond the leather industry. He is survived by his wife Lidia and two daughters.