Sam was born in Shanghai in 1934 and lived there for the first 17 years of his life. During that time he experienced the mass migration of Jews from Europe in the lead-up to WWII, the Japanese occupation of Shanghai during the war and the communist takeover of China.
After migrating to Australia in 1951, Sam studied at the University of Melbourne where he obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Over the next five decades, he worked as a chartered accountant, a financial executive and as a professional director and adviser on a number of corporate boards.
In June 2000 Sam was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of his contributions to Jewish causes and the general community.
Sam is married to Ada Moshinsky QC. They have three sons, three daughters-in-law and eight grandchildren.
Since the publication of his memoir in 2009, Sam regularly presents at speaking engagements in Australia and Shanghai about the Jewish history of Shanghai.