Kimberley, South Africa


Visitors’ Book

From Beverly Solsky (nee Buirski) 28 / 1 January 2018   

Hi Geraldine and Leon

It was with nostalgia that I read the latest Newsletter 13, which was forwarded on to me by Shelley Catzel (nee Jawno). I am not sure if you remember my sister and I who grew up in Kimberley until our teenage years when we went to Cape Town. My sister Lynette (nee Buirski now Rosenbaum who still lives in Cape Town) and my folks lived in Memorial Road near the Jacobson’s. I remember Leon as if it was yesterday, however, Geraldine I cannot put a face to the name.  Shelley and I reconnected many years ago when she came to Sydney, we met at Sharon Seidel’s house where we were both invited for dinner.  My family had a long history with Kimberley – even before we went to live there, my great grandmother had a brother Sir David Harris who was a pioneer of the Kimberley diamond industry together with his cousin Barney Barnato. He was a Director of De Beers and other major diamond companies, also a member of Parliament from 1897. There has been much written about Sir David (ed: Beverley refers to this article already on the website here )

I commend you for your initiative, I think as we get older it is always great to look at the past, I have wonderful memories of the time we spent there. We have lived in Sydney for the past 31 years.

1 January 2018 Thanks for all that you are doing. As we are all spread around the world and getting older, we reminisce on days gone by and this is a great way of communicating and keeping abreast of what is happening. I cannot stop going into the website. Wow, the more I explore the more I find – everyone who has made a contribution, and what I presume you and Eli Rabinowitz have created, makes for an amazing website!

I have now sent my Buirski family details and story for the website that readers will be able to see under Families/ Solsky.

Fondest regards

Beverly Solsky (nee Buirski)


From: Trevor Toube 31 December 2017  

Hi, Geraldine.

Haven't had time to go through everything in the latest newsletter 14, but it looks like the usual excellent production. Just one note for you:

Julius Sacks was the brother of my maternal grandmother. His wife's name was Zepherine, but was always known as Girlie [perhaps understandably!]. They had 2 sons, Ivan and Dennis. I don't know what happened to them. Alex Sacks was another brother. He married Rose Arvan. She died in 1923, so I know nothing about her nor about their [I think] 2 children. Julius was a commercial traveller. Girlie and Alex ran Sacks 'Printers and Die Casters'. Yet another brother, Solomon [Shlaima - I guess a Litvak version of Shlomo] had several children, one of them Aubrey Sacks who was a quantity surveyor in Kimberley. He married Phyllis Miller [I think she was a piano teacher]. They had 2 children, Sidney and Ida [who married Jeff Selman].

Enjoy 2018!! 

Trevor Toube (see my family page)



From: Daphne Gillis 24 / 31 December 2017  
Hi Geraldine, once again it was a pleasure receiving your latest newsletter.  We enjoy reading all the attachments as well.  I have been encouraging any Kimberley people I meet to contact you and tell you or Leon their stories.

You can see our family page here

Kindest regards, Daphne Gillis.

31 December 2017
It is truly amazing how one throws a pebble into a pond and you now have a HUGE following of people with Kimberley links.  Everyone has a story to tell.  You must be swamped with emails. Yesterday I "lent" my candlebra to my son for his New Year's Eve party.  Told him how my Mom got the other one (which now lives with Trev's daughter) from her Auntie Girlie Sacks.   This thinking kept me awake for hours last night remembering the Sacks family and all the stories that have become family history. (Trevor has written to you about the Alex and Julius Sacks family connection). So pleased that this is all happening.  Daphne



From Jane Beth Cantor 31 December 2017  

Hi Geraldine

My grandfather Aaron Senderovitz was buried in Kimberley in 1928 as well as his son and other members of my family.  He resided in Taungs.  He had about 8 children from first wife a few who became well known and settled in Cape Town. Dr Barry Sender, Hyman Sender and many cousins. My mom Pearl Sender was from second wife as well as Mendel Sender, Mike Sender, Ethel Sender who married Solly Ossin in Israel. All were born in Taungs. My mom went to convent In Kimberley.  Aaron, my grandfather, was a very learned man spoke many

languages and ran all Shul services for the handful of Jews in Taungs. Do you have any history of his time?  My mom new many families in Taungs

Thanks and warm regards

Jane Cantor


From Kingsley Dean, 20/27 December 2017

Hi Geraldine, 
Happened upon your site & was wondering why two prominent families were not listed... The Dubowitz family (Diamond Fields Bazaar & their son Brian) & the Werners (Rabbi Werner & his son Bernard). I was in the same class (at KHS) as Brian & Bernard & we were next door neighbours to the Hotz family in Park Road...  Otherwise it is a good read & brought back many memories of contacts in Kimberley !!
Thanks & regards, Kingsley Dean


27 December 2017

Hi Geraldine,  I discovered Brian Dubowitz is now in Melbourne, Oz.

Have not been able to trace Bernard Werner, although I recall he planned to become a rabbi, like his dad before him. Maybe they're in Israel? Although I'm a 'goy', would love to receive any news ex Kimberley...!!!

Kind regards,




From: Selwyn Strano Sent: 17 December 2017  
Our gratitude for your ongoing Kimberley news! Happy to share this picture with you. Solly (95) and Esther- nee Benjamin (90) Strano. Living in Jerusalem Israel. Esther is first cousin to Bernard Benjamin in Toronto.

BTW, we lived in Athens St across the the way from 7 Oaks, the home of Julius and Althea, Philip and David. Abe Beinhart from Malmesbury visited us in Kimberley and met up with Julius . You recall them?  Regards, Selwyn  



Hi Leon (5 November 2017)

Subject: Kehilalinks project: Business activity in Kimberley

Have looked at this posting. You have done a truly magnificent job and a memorial worthy of all these long-forgotten people.

In the compilation you have used discretion and tact.  What you have done is a work of the highest professional standard.

Never before, and I can assure you never again, will these people be recorded for posterity and you have done this. You have done the memory of our people proud.

Hopefully you will get feedback and input from the old Kimberlites but do not hold your breath.

Warm Gerus

Milton Jawno, Jerusalem


Bernard Yeowart 25 October 2017  

Greetings Geraldine,

I recently discovered your website which I found to be most interesting and a commendable perpetuation of a community which played a significant part in the history and development of Kimberley and South Africa as a whole. Reading through the material brought back many fond memories of growing up in Kimberley and so many of the names mentioned are familiar to me from those years. I was particularly interested to come across the name of Leon Chonin as we were at school together and in the same matric class at Kimberley Boys' High in 1962.

I would really like to be in touch with him again and I wondered whether you would be able to send me his email address or, send mine to him.  Your assistance will be appreciated. Congratulations once again on creating this valuable and unique historical and personal record.

Many thanks and kind regards,

Bernard Yeowart


From Marshal Hotz, 6 October 2017

Hi Geraldine 

So good to have read the newsletters

Have been living in Herzlia Israel for 40 years Wife Rosemary of 48 years, son and daughter in their 40's,5 lovely grandkids. Sister Pam lives in George and sister Shelly in Boston. I still work as a dentist but spend more time playing tennis on our complex where we live.

Regards Marshal Hotz



Hi Geraldine,  (13 September 2017)

Congratulations on your informative and interesting letter dated September 12, 2017, covering so much of the Jewish History of Kimberley and surrounds.

I read every word.

I always have, and always will be interested in  Kimberley Jewish Communal Affairs.

That's where I grew up and lived, until moving to Cape Town in 1981.

At the moment I am trying to accept the fact that since August this year, Arnold Rauff and I will not be calling each other for our birthdays next year, as we have since the first year we learnt to use a phone.

We were both born in Sister Tyres Nursing Home, Pan Rd, Kimberley in 1938, in the same week, and as  "Only Children", we  have been "Brothers" ever since.

From the time  Arnolds  parents Markie and Sylvia arrived in Kimberley with him, we did everything together, from CBC,  pipe band, army, sports, holidays, mischief, our Pappas business, the Chevra K., everything.

I now live so happily in Toronto with my beautiful wife of 54 years, Hellen alias Pat, 3 children plus children-in-law and 6 grandchildren.   BH.

I never forget where we come from and feel very contented, when I am still referred to by my friends as the Kimberley Kid.

May the Three remaining members of the Awesome Foursome, Barney, David and Trevor, continue with their Great Work and may Hashem Bless them with Kayach and Gesund for many years to come in their Labour of Love and may they receive much "Assistance" from the Kimberley Jewish Community who don't live  there anymore.  We all owe them so much.

Looking forward to the next GWHC Newsletter.

Keep up the good work all of you.


Bernard Benjamin. (Toronto)


From Carin Danon 28 August 2017

Hi Eli and Geraldine  

I am writing this to see if you are able to point me in the right direction. I live in Melbourne and am busy compiling my family tree. My great grandfather’s brother Louis Kaplan and his wife Gertie lived in Kimberley. Louis is buried in Green Street Cemetery. He passed away in 1951.  It says on his grave that he had a son and daughter. I think the son was called Mervyn. I would love to be in touch with their grandchildren or great grandchildren to see if I could complete the piece of the puzzle. I was wondering, is there any way to advertise or mention this in your newsletter i.e. seeking relatives of Louis and Gertie Kaplan. I would also love to subscribe to your Kimberley newsletter? I know Louis was born in Tavrig (Taurage) Lithuania.

Please advise.

Thanks so much. Most appreciated!  Regards

Carin Danon <>


Hi Geraldine, (16 August 2017)

What a really great idea to publish a regular Kimberley Update. I enjoyed

too reading about your achievements. If you have any back copies I'd love to

see them. [You can see them all under News on this website]

After leaving Kimberley I graduated at Rhodes University with degrees in

Pharmacy and Chemistry never however with the aim of practicing as a

pharmacist. Rather I immediately started a pharmaceutical manufacturing and

marketing company in Cape Town and soon thereafter incorporated Hair Care

products. In 1983 I sold out to Protea Holdings and emigrated to Sydney,

Australia with my wife Etta Cowan from Cape Town, daughter and 2 sons. Here

I started again in the Skin Care and Sunblock industry and with my youngest

son market all over Australia and S. E. Asia our own brands.

In Cape Town, I was friendly with Ephraim Pick and Bernard Frank who both

subsequently passed away. Also with Solly Pick and Naomi Samols (Raichman).

Here in Sydney I see a lot of Gerald Raichman, Sharon Zeidel (Adler) and

more occasionally Leslie Stein. I keep in touch as well with Bernard

Benjamin in Toronto and Sharon Odes (Walt).

I'll look for some photos as you requested in the next few days.

With my best wishes and happy memories,

From: Michael Sperber []


Dear Geraldine (Mar 30, 2017)

Thank you for your very interesting news letter, and especially for including Natalie and myself.

You are doing a sterling service to the community of Kimberley, by informing them of the past and present (albeit a dwindling community). You are to be congratulated for your efforts to keep informing ex-pats throughout the world of their Kimberley roots.

Natalie and I had been closely associated with the Bergman /Kretzmar families  throughout the years.

Natalie remembers fondly how your mother introduced her, as a young bride of 20, to the Union of Jewish Women, and took her under her wing.

I spent many a day in the home of the Hendlers in Milner street, being very friendly with Owen, and Natalie and I were very friendly with Eileen and Archie Sandler.

Moreover, Solly Frank (Jack’s brother) was Natalie’s uncle. I also had the pleasure of presenting Brenda Frank with the Council Gold Medal for her outstanding school results.

Philip Kretzmar, and Jeff (our son) were very friendly and were together throughout their school days.

WELL DONE Geraldine, keep up the good work.

With kind regards and best wishes,

Natalie and Cecil Sussman in Cape Town


Hi Geraldine (2 May 2016)

Thank you so much for your hard work in putting out this wonderful news letter. I am living in Boston (for past 33 years) and just love seeing the old names that are such a distant memory. I left when I was 15 for Cape Town, did medicine there and work as a psychiatrist in Newton, Massachusetts.

My sister is Pam Buckham and our grandfather Natie Lincow was the supervisor/custodian/shamas at the small shul on Green Street where we used to go on Simchas Torah to celebrate with him. I loved going there on that particular holiday till it became unsafe for the women to go upstairs because the building’s structure was unsafe. I was known as Shelley Hotz in those days and my mother and father were Charlie and Hilda Hotz. My father had a men’s outfitting shop on the market square for years until we left for Cape Town. They subsequently went to live in Israel in Herzlia and lived at Beth Protea until they both passed away

Thanks again

Rocky Levin (aka Shelley Hotz)


Dear Geraldine (Nov 24, 2014)

We never met. I was born 1958. Matriculated CBC 1976. Lived 54a Carrington Rd. Parents Natie and Fay owned Savoy Hotel. My Parents in now in Johannesburg with my sister and I. (Sadly Natie has subsequently died). They left in 2000 so my association with Kimberley stopped then. Went to my Uncle Leon’s funeral in 2006. Never went to Shul’s 110th last August. Wished I had. Practising as an Advocate. Married. 3 young children. With my cousin Farral. He is married. One child. Lots of Family friends. Would love to go back for a reunion with my boys.

Kind regards. Sam Cohen


Dear Geraldine (Nov 15, 2014)  


I have certainly looked at the Kimberley Community Website and am filled with admiration for the wonderful job you and Eli Rabinowitz have done.  All of us Kimberley expatriates owe you a huge debt of gratitude.  My daughter, Lauren, who lives in New Zealand also found the website and has plied me with questions about various people whose names she found there.  I only recently found time to read some of the family stories, which brought back such memories.  Vicky Weinberg (née Capon) and I spent a very pleasant afternoon last Saturday with Trevor Toube, his sister Daphne and her husband Harry Gillis, who live near to me.  Of course the conversation was largely about Kimberley and your website.

Sheila Grant. (Cape Town)



Dear Geraldine, (Sep 13, 2014)


Great stuff! Thanks to you for making the Jewish history of Kimberley increasing accessible and of course to Barney for keeping it all going with such slender resources.


I shall be sending a donation to the Kimberley shul fund this Rosh Hashana  in celebration of my parents, Pam (nee Horwitz) and Philip who will celebrate 67 years of marriage (celebrated in the Kimberley shul) on 28th September 1947.


To have the honour of being both Barney’s cousin and a friend of yours, Geraldine, is a huge pleasure. Good luck to both of you with these endeavours and of course to you and all Kimberley-connected people,  shana tova – and all good wishes for a sweet and healthy year ahead.


Jonathan Joseph




Dear Geraldine, (September 13, 2014)


I echo what Jonathan has said. You are doing something wonderful which, with all

the will in the world, I would not have the time to do. Small correction: I am the Chairman

of the Shul, David Allen is the President and Arni Rauff the Trustee and Chairman of the

Chevre. Like all good Jewish Communities everyone is an office bearer.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Oh, and Jonathan, if I remember correctly, at my Barmitzvah in an error of communication

on the Bima, you were pledged to the Shul. We’ll have to rope you in via cyber space for the

alliyahs over the High Holy Days.


Kind regards


Barney Horwitz




Subject: Kimberley Shul

Date: 14 September 2014 9:23:26 pm AWST

Hi Eli

Firstly, I must thank you for the fantastic work that you have done.

In the early 70s I was called up for an army camp. The train was supposed to leave on Friday. By that time I had become religious so I refused to travel with the troops. The Army arranged that I went to Kimberley the day before & spent Shabbat there with the Rabbi. The Shul in use then was the one that Sir Ernst Oppenheimer had donated so much money for (& even more to have his name removed!). All I can say is that I remember it as the most beautiful Shul that I have ever been in. I distinctly remember the wood paneling along the whole of the back wall.

Louis Zetler

Hoshaya, Israel


Dear Geraldine,   (16 October 2013) 


I found your emails very interesting and very nostalgic.  I have tried to discuss them with Pam (nee Horwitz b Kimberley) but alas I doubt whether she realised the significance.   Pam has, alas, a severe form of Alzheimers which is chronic and of course relentless.  Her next birthday she will be 88.   There is little point in my filling in the details for which you ask as I certainly was not born in Kimberley.  


Indeed I first met you before I met Pam.  You doubtless remember? the circumstances.  I was a pupil-pilot in the RAF and received an order to report to the Adjutant of 21 Air School.   Normally one was castigated by a Corporal, Sergeant or other NCO but the adjutant was unheard of in our philosophy and my colleagues thought I would be shot at dawn.     The interview was short and pithy.  I marched in saluted, stood to attention and awaited sentence.  (Someone once equated military justice with civil justice as being the same as the relation of military music to Bach) .   The command to stand at ease, stand easy was unexpected followed by an invitation to join your family for the next Friday night for dinner.   I nearly feinted.  Your aunt explained that it would be at the house of her brother and sister.  (Your Mum and Dad)   I assented and was dismissed.


Was it Carrington Road?  Your parents asked me whether I would like anything to eat or drink or anything else.  Apparently I said yes please could I have a hot bath.  It was magnificent


 You and your brother were there running around.   I have never forgotten the friendship I received from your parents.   Your father took me horse riding on polo ponies, the food was paradisiacal and I enjoyed

several more invitations to Shabbas dinners.  The year was 1942.  The next time I saw Kimberley was when we were married in 1947. 


Barney keeps us in touch with Kimberley and our Africana collection has quite a collection of Kimberliana.

I owe the place a great deal and I do enjoy your emails.


With love


Philip  (Joseph)




If you would like to leave a message in the visitors’ book, please email Geraldine and Eli who will be pleased to hear from you.

If you would like to be in touch with anyone who has left a message on this visitors book, email us and we can ask them to contact you.