Kimberley, South Africa


Steinberg (nee Frank), Alma


Alma Steinberg

Maiden name: Frank

Year of birth: 1942

3 words: Happy sheltered childhood

Siblings: Brenda b. 1946 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 USA West Coast.

Matriculated in 1959 in Kimberley.

Left Kimberley in 1960 aged 17 to study at UCT.  BA and Teachers diploma (UCT) plus
Higher diploma in Librarianship (Wits)

Occupation: Retired librarian at Wits University

Married: in Kimberley shul, 18 December 1966 to Arnold Steinberg, teacher and then lecturer at Johannesburg teachers training college. (See our wedding picture in family weddings)

Children:  Son Mark, married to Mandi live in Auckland New Zealand with two children Mika (aged 12 in 2017) and David (aged 9), Alma’s daughter Ingrid (Gompertz) lives in Los Angeles with husband Larry and two boys Aaron and Jonathan.

Parents: Jack and Hannah Frank (nee Bergman) he was a solicitor in Kimberley from about 1935 to 1990. Hannah was a ballet dancer and teacher and housewife. Hannah died in Kimberley and is buried in the Kimberley cemetery.

Maternal Grandparents: Jacob and Amalie Bergman (nee Friedlander). Jacob came to Kimberley from Latvia as a young man of about 18 to try his luck at diamonds. He later went back to marry Amalie from Libau – or maybe Riga. They lived for a time in Schmidtsdrift, running the hotel, general store and the ‘pont’ over the Vaal River. Later moved to Kimberley and lived in Milner Street. They had four daughters who all married and stayed in Kimberley Hilda who married Nate Hendler, Beryl who married Dr Noel Kretzmar, Hannah, and Eileen who married Archie Sandler.

Paternal Grandparents: Ephroim Boruch (Bernard) Podlifsky – that became Frank at some stage for some reason, and his second wife Stitche (Stella) (sister of his deceased first wife). They all came from Slutsk in Belarus. They came to Kimberley in the early 20th century, with their new family followed by his children from his previous marriage, Judel, Annie, and Israel and his grandchildren – the children of his eldest son Judel. (the youngest three of his new family Solly, Rachael (Ray), Jack and Cyril being the same ages as his elder son Judel’s children Minnie, Nappy and Masel.)

Please see the brief history of the Frank family on Sheila Grant’s family page


My story 

Alma writes in Spring 2017:

I lived in Johannesburg for 50 years working first as a Latin teacher at Athlone Boys High School where I met Arnold, and then as a librarian at Wits University. When Arnold died in September 2015 aged 80, just short of our 50th anniversary. I decided to make my way to live in Auckland, New Zealand to be near my son Mark and his family. 

I am enjoying living In New Zealand, but finding it difficult getting used to living on my own. However, it is a much safer and more peaceful environment and I know that it was the right move at this stage of my life.

My house is in walking distance from Mark and Mandi, which is very convenient. Their children are happy here. The schools in this area are excellent. Mika is 12 and taller than me. She is at the Intermediate school on the shore and is interested in ballet and dancing. She goes to ballet classes. David aged 9 is also tall. He is very sporty and loves soccer. He goes to the Jewish primary school which is attached to the shul.

There is a small Jewish community and an orthodox and a reform shul. I went to the Orthodox shul on the first day of Yomtov with the family. It is a lovely shul and was well attended.  Mark and Mandi have quite a large number of friends here, mostly Jewish ex-South Africans. They were invited for dinner on both nights and I was invited with them by

2 different families, both with children of about the same age as theirs.

I hope I have given you a clearer picture of my life here.  As you say, it is good to be close to one's children as one gets older. 

I found the newsletter no 9 very interesting and it brought back nostalgic memories of the good old days in Kimberley. I was particularly interested in your comprehensive article about Alexandersfontein. I had heard a little about it from my Mom but did not know anything about its history.