Stefan Ruff was an only child, of older parents who moved from Czernowitz, Romania to Vienna where he was born and brought up. His father was a pharmacist. He came to Britain on a Kindertransport in December 1938, aged 13, and was able to complete his education and attend university in Glasgow. He did not experience any overt antisemitism in Vienna and still feels, deep down, that he is Viennese rather than British. He had positive experiences with foster-parents and also when living in a hostel in Scotland. His parents escaped to Shanghai and came to join him in Scotland after the war. His father died in the early 1950s and his mother returned to Vienna, where she lived for 25 years until her death in 1978. He has had a successful professional life as a research chemist and in management, has been married twice, with three children from his first marriage, and now lives in retirement with his second wife in York.