Kimberley, South Africa


Friedman, Norma (nee Levinsohn) & Milton

Norma was born in 1940 to Louis Levinson and Betty (nee Klein) from Bloemfontein. A popular and bright girl, she was always easily at the top of her class at school and was good at sport. (You can see pictures and read tales about her and Milton in Newsletter No 15 devoted to Jewish youth activities in Kimberley in the 50s and 60s)  

After school, following in the footsteps of her father, her uncle Harold and her brother David, she started on the pharmacy ladder, by becoming an apprentice in her father’s Pan Pharmacy. 

Milton, son of Ethyl (nee Brenner) and Gabby Friedman and stepson of Saul Ginsberg, was born in 1937. He matriculated at Kimberley Boys High School and had followed a similar path into Pharmacy.

Here is a picture of the couple, who now live in Los Angeles, at a family Simcha in Vancouver in 2016. In the middle is probably Barbara Rubanenko – nee Horn (cousin of Trevor Toube – see his family entry)

On 17 February 1962 Norma and Milton were married in the Kimberley synagogue. Here is the traditional picture outside the steps of this amazing synagogue.

Norma Levinsohn of Kimberley to Milton Friedman of Kimberley

Picture supplied by bride Norma from California. Posted April 2018

Back Row: Lynn Berman (now Kalmin) bride’s cousin from Bloem, behind the bride is Milton’s sister Lucille Friedman and behind Milton slightly obscured with the hat is one of the pole holders, a Kimberley friend Effie Pick. The others were cousins of Milton from out of town.

Front Row:  Louis and Betty Levinsohn, bride’s parents, Bride, Norma, Groom Milton, Ethyl and Saul (Solly) Ginsberg, Milton’s mother and step-father

Norma writes: For me personally, reading your diary Geraldine from 1953 about our social life and my attraction to Milton was so accurate and such fun. I would probably have had a fit at the time knowing you were diarizing/documenting (in today’s jargon) my feelings! (see Kimberley Ex-Pat’s Newsletter # 15 on this site under ‘News’)

As one did in those days, before solo backpacking or a ‘year off’ became fashionable, Norma and Milton set forth after marriage for London for an extended working holiday.  Geraldine (Kretzmar, Special friend from Kimberley school days)  and Ronnie Auerbach (who married in Kimberley two weeks earlier and also gone to London) were pleased of their company in this exciting city. Norma and Milton travelled extensively in the UK and on the continent for about 18 months, before returning to South Africa and settling in Durban, where Norma’s brother David had also settled. (Geraldine and Ronnie remained and settled in London.)

The Friedman’s two children Gabby and Warren were born and schooled in Durban, where they were all popular members of the Jewish community. Norma’s mother Betty followed them to Durban after Louis passed away.

But later Norma and Milton and the children set off for California – again following brother David’s earlier expedition. At first, they ran pharmacies at private hospitals, but branched out into their own business in Los Angeles.      

Norma writes to her family and friends from Los Angeles in May 2017

We want to share Milton’s 80th birthday party with you. Let me start by saying it is inconceivable to me that he is 80.  He is so active and free of back pain since his surgery.  Doesn’t miss an opportunity to do anything, especially watching all three grandkids at their sports and other activities.

We had a casual party for his birthday of only family (somewhat extended to Lori’s family and second cousins – Levin children) and there were 40 people there.  The only person from out of town was Milton’s sister Lucille. Amazing that every one of our nieces and nephews (actually only 5 in total) live here in Los Angeles. Here are a couple of pictures of us with our children and grandchildren.  Chase has since had a haircut!

Norma and Milton centre on Milton’s 80th with Warren and Lori and children on the left and Gabby and her husband and son Evan on the right.

And to Geraldine, Norma wrote in January 2018

I just want to say your e -mails about Kimberly are amazing. What a trip to read about people we haven't thought about in years. We are in Cabo San Lucas at the moment but when I get back I promise I will try to find pictures from Kimberly days You can use the picture from Milton's 80th. Or the attached one of us with our 3 grandchildren from Evan’s Barmitzvah.

Seeing how far flung families from Kimberley are, we feel so fortunate to be living in Los Angeles with our kids and grand-kids as are David (also from Kimberly of course) and Jennifer who celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in January 

Love to all

Norma & Milton