Kimberley, South Africa


Katz, Jules


A large crowd drawn from as far afield as Durban and Polokwane gathered at the Kimberley Jewish cemetery last week to pay their last respects to Jules Katz, a much loved and respected citizen of the town who passed away on 10 April at the age of 88. Amongst those in attendance were many members of the Griqualand West Hebrew Congregation (GWHC), of which he was a committed life-long member and past president. Country Communities Spiritual Leader Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft officiated at the funeral, which he described as one of the largest Jewish funerals that had ever taken place in Kimberley.


Katz arrived in South Africa from Lithuania in 1929. He was educated at Grey College in Bloemfontein and went on to serve with distinction in the South African Artillery Corps in Italy during World War II. After qualifying as an electrician, he settled in Kimberley in 1948, remaining there for the rest of his life and achieving considerable prominence as a businessman and dedicated community worker. He was also a fine sportsman, who narrowly missed out on representing his country at boxing at the Olympics. Together with his wife Shirley, whom he married in 1949, he established a hardware and building supplies business, Jules Katz and Co. This grew into a household name in Kimberley and the Northern Cape.


Barney Horwitz, current President of the GWHC, described Katz as having been a pillar both of the local Jewish community and of Kimberley society as a whole, one whose qualities of kindness, generosity and respect for others had been shaped by his personal and humble beginnings.


“He lived by the Jewish Scriptural Law that you should be kind to a stranger since you were once a stranger in Egypt and he was once a stranger in South Africa” Horwitz said.


Katz is survived by his sons Jeffrey and Barry, daughters Moeksie and Rosie and grandchildren Jason, David, Jessica and Taryn.