Kimberley, South Africa


Ginsberg Family Page

Jean Tockar (née Ginsberg)


Information contributed by Jean Tockar née Ginsberg and Hirschel Ginsberg

Jean Tockar (née Ginsberg) writes that growing up in Kimberley in three words was a ‘Magical Small Town!’

Jean, born in 1938, left Kimberley in 1956 aged 18 to do a B Com at the University of Cape Town. 

Now a widow, Jean was married to Solomon Tockar in Kimberley shul 1959. Solly, a pharmacist, was born in Cape Town. (His brother was Dr Hymie Tockar who practiced in Kimberley and married Kimberley girl Nina Apter (see Apter Family Story).

Solly and Jean Tockar settled in Muizenberg owning the iconic Tockar’s Pharmacy on the seafront. Jean took an active part in community and civic affairs in Muizenberg. She still lives in Muizenberg (2019) and still largely runs the community and looks after her estate agency, Jean Tockar Estates, arranging lets, holiday lets and sales.

Above is a picture of the beachfront and below is a picture of the Muizenberg Shul with which Jean is still very much involved. This had a large congregation in its heyday in the 1940s and 50s, swelled enormously in the summer holiday period with the influx of Johannesburgers and other South Africans.

Jean has two daughters – Charlene born 1960 lives in Johannesburg qualified at UCT as speech and hearing therapist. She is a volunteer pre-marital guidance for Beth Din Johannesburg. Beverley born 1962. She graduated in Social Science at UCT majoring in Marketing.

Jean had two Ginsberg brothers:

Hirschel Ginsberg b.1934, left Kimberley in 1953 aged 18 to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He married Desiree Gordon in 1970. Desiree was born in Cape Town, occupation Radiographer (divorced). Hirschel has two sons - Selwyn born 1971 in the travel industry and Philip born 1974 is a doctor. Both live in Cape Town. Hirschel now a retired Chemical Engineer, also lives in Cape Town.

Jacob (aka Jackie) Ginsberg b1939, left Kimberley age aged 18 to Study for a Law Degree at UCT. He married Maureen Sanfield in Cape Town 1966. Maureen is a retired nursery school teacher. Jacob had three children. Anthony born 1968, lives in Los Angeles California where he runs his own Index Fund Company. Daughter Caryn, a housewife born 1970, lives in Johannesburg and son Dean born 1976, a stock exchange analyst and broker, also lives in Johannesbur,. Jack lived in Cape Town and worked as an attorney. He later helped Jean in her estate agent’s business until his death in 2016.

Their ParentsSimon Ginsberg and Rachel née Adamstein met and married in Laingsburg, kept a hotel in Border and came to Kimberley in 1950. After the children all left home they settled in Muizenberg to be near Jean and her brothers who were all in Cape Town. They are both buried in Muizenberg.

Their Father, Simon Ginsberg was born in Tukum, Latvia in 1895. Before he arrived in Kimberley in 1950, he had been a farmer and shop owner in Laingsburg and a hotelier in ‘Border’ which is 60 miles north of Kimberley and is now known as ‘Jan Kempdorp’,

(Jan Kempdorp is an agricultural town situated in the centre of the Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme, begun as a pubic work by the SA government in 1934 to support farmers who lost their stock in the drought and rinderpest and those who suffered from the great depression. It had first been surveyed as an irrigation scheme in the 1870s and was promoted by Cecil Rhodes but only saw the light again in the late 1920s with serious planning. It is one of the largest irrigation schemes in the world covering 369.50 square kilometres in the Northern Cape. It was laid out on the farm Andalusia and at first bore that name. The first settlers were allocated faming plots in 1938, with help to farm and even a research station to decide what would grow best. The town was proclaimed in 1953 and then named after General Jan Kemp, a former Minister of Lands. It was originally known as Border, as the border between the Cape and Transvaal provinces ran through the town, making it the only town in South Africa that was in two provinces).

Simon Ginsberg and his brothers and mother spent many years in Laingsburg, where he ran a general dealer’s business. Simon met and married Rachel Adamstein whose family were well established in Laingsburg. After some years there, where Simon was active in civic affairs, he purchased a hotel in Border (see above) which he and Rachel ran until they relocated to 1950, presumably as there were more opportunities for secondary schooling for their children. Simon died in Muizenberg in 1988 age 93 and is buried in Muizenberg.

Their Mother, Rachel Adamstein, was born 1902 in Laingsburg, a pretty Karoo town in the western cape in the midst of a wool producing area. Usually arid, it is prone to occasional flash flooding of the Buffels River and its tributaries after heavy rains. Laingsburg sits astride the N1 highway linking Cape Town with Beaufort West and is a popular rest-stop for travellers on their journey across the Karoo.

Rachel Adamstein met and married Simon Ginsberg when he was in Laingsburg afterwards spending several years with him running the hotel in Border, before they came to Kimberley in 1950.

She was very active on the Kimberley Boys’ High School PTA and in clothing drives for Israel run by Union of Jewish Women. 

Rachel was particularly interested in art and music in which she was very proficient. All the Ginsberg children played musical instruments and there was much music in the home. She entertained the elderly at old aged homes by playing the piano for ‘sing-alongs’. Rachel was also a founder member of the Friends of the William Humphries Art Gallery (above). Her children – and grandchildren have continued to take an interest in music and art. Rachel died in Muizenberg in 1991 aged 89 in and is buried in Muizenberg.

Maternal Grandparents: Rachel’s father David Adamstein was born in 1870 in Shevsna, Lithuania. He became a farmer in Laingsburg. He was a founder of the Laingsburg shul. He died in 1944 age 74 and is buried in Laingsburg.

David’s wife, Jean’s Grandmother Jane Adamstein, was born in 1880, also in Shevsna Lithuania, she looked after her family. She died in Laingsburg in 1924, aged only 44, and is also buried there.

Paternal Grandparents: Bernhardt Ginsberg was born in 1852 in Tukkum, Latvia. He was a General Dealer in Barkley East. Died 1907 

His wife, Johanna was also born in Tukkum, Latvia, in 1870 (18 years her husband’s junior). She was a housewife looking after her family. She died at Border (now Jan Kempdorp) in 1941 age 71, and is buried in Kimberley.

Compiled by Geraldine Auerbach MBE November 2019

From information contributed by Jean Tockar and Hirschel Ginsberg

Posted by Eli Rabinowitz November 2019