Kimberley, South Africa


Grant (nee Frank), Sheila

Grant (nee Frank) Sheila  



Sheila Grant

Maiden Name


year born


Siblings: Names and year of birth and where they are now.

Jeffrey Frank born 1942, died 2016;  Marilyn Shalkoff (formerly Marks) b 1946, widowed, lives in Cape Town;  Colin Frank born 1951, divorced, lives in Cape Town

3 words that exemplify for you, what it was like growing up in Kimberley 


Date left Kimberley


Age when left

28 but Kimberley never left me!

Reason for leaving and where went

Relocated to UK, thereafter to Cape Town, Jo’burg and back to Cape Town

Scholastic achievements, degrees qualifications and where they are from

Matric – Kimberley Girls’ High School

Where live now

Milnerton, Cape Town


Legal Secretary

Marital status


Name of partner

John Michael Grant

Place partner born

London, England – passed away May 2011 Cape Town

What partner did/does

Was Ladies’ Hairdresser, later businessman

Place and date of wedding

Kimberley Shul, 20th March 1960


How many children


Names; year they were born; where they live; and what they do

Barry Grant b Kimberley 1961, now lives in Milnerton, Cape Town, married to Judy, 2 children aged 22 & 15, runs own small business

Lauren Keith (neé Grant) b Cape Town 1970, lives in Queenstown, New Zealand, married to David Keith, one daughter aged 5, Madison, Travel Consultant


Father: Name; year of birth; where born; when he came to Kimberley; his occupation; where and when he died; at what age; and where buried 

Maurice Reuben (Masel) Frank b Kimberley 1911, businessman, died Cape Town 1978 aged 67 buried Pinelands, Cape Town

Mother: Name; year of Birth; where born; when she came to Kimberley; her occupation; where and when she died; at what age; and where buried 

Rhoda Anita Frank (neé Cohen) b Kimberley 1917, (known as Nita) businesswoman, died Cape Town 2002 aged 85, buried Pinelands, Cape Town


Maternal grandparents Names; years of birth; where they came from; (and if they lived in Kimberley – what years); what they did; where and when they died; at what age and where buried

Barnerd Cohen b + 1876 in Poland. In Kimberley 1880/90s, diamond dealer, also owned butchery, died Muizenberg 1951 aged 75, buried Muizenberg cemetery.

Sophia Pauline (Bertha) Cohen (neé Kleinman) b 1882 in Russia or S A (possibly Kbly). Lived in Kbly from childhood, died Muizenberg 1918 ‘Flu Epidemic aged 36, buried Muizenberg cemetery

Paternal grandparents Names; years of birth; where they came from; (and if they lived in Kimberley – what years); What they did; where and when they died; at what age; and where buried 

Judel Frank b + 1884 in Belarus, in Kbly from early 20th century. Owned a bar and billiard room, died about 1932 aged +49, buried West End Cemetery, Kimberley

Jessie Frank (neé Mlotok) b Belarus 1885 in Kovno, in Kbly from early 20th century. Housewife, died Kimberley 1947 aged 62, buried West End Cemetery, Kimberley

My family story 

A Brief History of the Frank Family in Kimberley

By Sheila Grant, (nee Frank) daughter of Masel and Anita Frank

Someone once remarked to me that almost every Jewish family in Kimberley was somehow connected to the Frank family, and I do believe this is true.  Geraldine has asked me to write a piece about the family for the website – a daunting task but I have for now, and for the sake of brevity, limited this to an explanation of where everyone fits in.

Originally the Frank family were called Podlifsky. They came from Slutzk, Belarus. The Patriarch, Ephroim Boruch (Bernard) Podlifsky, whose surname was later somehow changed to ‘Frank’, married a Miss Borodach (I think her name may have been “Minya”) and they had three children, Judel, Annie and Israel. The family moved to America, where Minya sadly died. Ephroim Boruch returned to Slutzk where he married his late wife’s sister, Stishie (Stella) with whom he had four more children, Solly, Rachael (Ray), Jack and Cyril (the youngest three being the same ages as his eldest son Judel’s children Minnie, Nappy and Masel.

Ephroim Boruch now called ‘Bernard Frank’, came to Kimberley early in the twentieth century with his second family. His older children followed. His eldest son Judel was now married, and brought with his wife, Jessie and their three children: Minnie, Nappy and Masel. I believe Ephroim Boruch (now Bernard Frank) opened a liquor store, which was later inherited by his son, Solly who, with his wife, Ann ran the Premier Bottle Store in Jones Street for many years.

This is how the family proliferated in Kimberley:

First let’s look at

Patriarch Bernard and first wife Minya’s offspring, Judel, Annie and Israel:

The eldest son, Judel married Jessie Mlotok and had three children Minnie, Nappy and Masel.

Judel and Jessie’s eldest daughter, Minnie married Morris Gershowitz of Kimberley. They had four children: Marion, Joan, Judy and Eric who all grew up in Kimberley: Marion, (usually known as Cuckoo – though she hated the nickname) married Harold Lusman (of Lusmans Furnishers Kimberley). They had two sons Michael and Jules. After Harold’s passing Marion moved to Cape Town and married Hymie Rogaly. Her son Michael passed away in 2008 and Jules lives in Cape Town. Joan married lawyer Dennis Hammerschlag of Springs, and their children are Jeff, Ivan and Vicy. Jeff lives in London with his wife Pamela and their three married daughters; Ivan and his wife Denise, who have four children, and Joan’s daughter Vicy and her husband Brian Fainsinger with their two children are all in Sydney. The Gershowitz’s third daughter Judy married Mottie Benson of Content, and later Wulfie Kotzen.  Judy’s daughter, Sheryl Goodson and her family are in Cape Town. Their fourth child and son Eric, married Merle Noché. They lived in Kimberley where Eric ran a men’s outfitters. Their three children are Melanie, Larry and Mandy. Their eldest child, Melanie (now Zuck) lives in Sydney with her husband Lorne and two daughters; their son Larry Gershowitz and his wife Ashli and their two daughters, as well as their daughter Mandy and husband David Lipman and their two sons are all in Cape Town.  Regrettably all four Gershowitz children have now passed on and of their spouses only Merle remains of that generation. (As at January 2018)

Nappy, Jessie and Judel’s second child, was actually called Harry – but generally known to all as ‘Nap’ or ‘Nappy’ - ostensibly from the occasion during his schooldays when he attended a fancy dress party dressed as Bonaparte). He was born in Slutzk.  He married Freda Kretzmar, of Kimberley, a sister to Noel and Julius Kretzmar and aunt of Geraldine. They settled in Springs where he was a leading attorney. Their daughter, Taubene married Abe Hoppenstein also a lawyer and they also lived and practiced in Springs for many years before Abe became Trade Consul for SA in Washington DC. They now live in Boca Raton, Florida, USA. They have four children – Sheli, Joel, Saul and Debbie. Sheli and husband Jonathan Schlosberg are in Johannesburg though at least one their three children Tammie, a son and Gabbi are in the USA.  Joel, Saul and Debbie now Zucker, are all in America with their families.

My father Masel, (Maurice Reuben) was Jessie and Judel’s third and youngest child. He married Rhoda Anita Cohen, youngest child of Barnerd (Barney) Cohen, a former mayor of Kimberley. Masel was involved in the wholesale shoe business in Kimberley. I (Sheila), am the oldest of their four children who all grew up in Kimberley (me, Jeffrey, Marilyn and Colin.) My husband, John Grant – from London, opened a ladies Hairdressers in Kimberley before becoming a businessman in Johannesburg and Cape Town. He passed away six years ago.  Our son, Barry, his wife Judy and their two children live near to me in Cape Town and our daughter, Lauren, her husband David Keith and their daughter Madison, live in Queenstown, New Zealand.  Sadly, my brother Jeffrey passed away last year. His wife Lucy and their two daughters all live in Johannesburg. My sister Marilyn Shalkoff (now widowed) has three sons and lives in Cape Town. My youngest brother, Colin is divorced, has one daughter and also lives in Cape Town.

In this picture Sheila Grant (nee Frank) is second from the right at the back, next to her cousin Marcia (nee Frank) Collins. On either end are Geraldine Auerbach Left and Vicky (nee Capon) Weinberg. 
in the front are Nita (Anita nee Cohen) Frank and Noel Kretzmar. The picture was taken in Cape Town in the early 90s 

Annie, Bernard, the patriarch and Minya’s, second child, married Louis Milunsky in Kimberley. They had two daughters Minnie and Beryl. Minnie married Joe Brenner, and Beryl and her husband Dave Capon were all well known in Kimberley.  Minnie’s son Leslie has been in Israel for many years, and her daughter Beverley is now living in Perth, Australia. Beryl’s children, Leon, Linda and Joy are all in Johannesburg.

Israel, the youngest of the three children of Bernard’s first marriage, remained a bachelor.

Now to the children of Bernard second marriage to Stishie (Stella)

Solly, Ray, Jack and Cyril

Solly married Ann Shiffman. They inherited from Bernard and ran the Premier Bottle Store in Jones Street until they retired to Cape Town. Their son, Bernard passed away in the early 1980’s.  He was married to Brenda Swerling, who now lives in London.  Their son Craig lives in Houston, Texas with his wife Jennifer and their twin sons (the only boys able to continue the Frank name); and their daughter Tracey, her husband Robert Reiss and their three sons live in Israel. Solly and Ann’s daughter, Marcia lives in London.  Her husband Harold Collins (of London) passed away in May 2017. Their daughter Debbie Fanarof and her family are in Melbourne; and daughter Mandy Sror and her two children are in Eilat in Israel. Marcia’s son, Robert died in 1996.

Rachael (Ray) married Sam Melunsky (brother of Annie’s husband Louis – who spelled his name Milunsky). Their older son, Lionel is a leading lawyer and with his wife Bobbie live in Port Elizabeth.  They have three children – David is in Cape Town, Jonathan in London, and Nerina in Port Elizabeth.  Ray and Sam’s second child Shirley married (later divorced) Marcus Jacobs and they had one son, Stephen. Shirley later married Dr Hillie Portnoi who practiced as a GP in Kimberley and they had three sons, Howard, Colin and Jonathan; Ray’s third child Bernard Melunsky, lives in London. His wife Barbara died some years ago.  They had two sons.


Jacob (Jack) Frank became an attorney in Kimberley. He married Hannah Bergman and they had two daughters, Alma (Steinberg) lived in Johannes burg and was a Librarian at Wits University. After her husband Arnold, a lecturer at teachers training college in Johannesburg, passed away in 2016, she moved to Auckland, New Zealand to be near her son Mark and wife Mandy and two children.  Alma’s daughter Ingrid Gompertz, lives in Los Angeles with husband Larry and two boys Aaron and Jonathan.  Brenda married Sorrel Danilowitz and they live in Connecticut. They have two sons Guy and Gideon who are both married with two boys each, and living on the West Coast.


Cyril Frank (born + 1911) married Renée Hoffman.  They had no children.

Sadly, as is the case with so many once-great Kimberley families, only one member of our large family remains in Kimberley – Dr Colin Portnoi with his family. And, as I have said only one set of twins retain the name of Frank – in Texas.  For the rest they are an example of the spread across the world of the small Litvak community that flourished in Kimberley and in South Africa as a whole. 

(You can read more stories of Kimberley families on the

and many stories of Jewish life in Slutsk in the memorial book