David Levy and Rose Camber
David Levy and his fiancée Rose Camber1

David Levy, aged about 15, arrived a number of years after the Anglo-Boer War ended in 1902, the second of the three Gaddie brothers to settle in South Africa using the adopted Levy name. Three other brothers who had emigrated to the U.S.A. retained the Gaddie name.

He joined his older brother Isaac at the country trading store in the Brandfort Winburg area of the Orange Free State. Mastering the language of the Afrikaans speaking farmers, he was quickly absorbed by the locals as one of their own. In those days the Boers treated the Jewish traders with great respect, being "People of the Book."

In 1914 the newly established Union of South Africa under Prime Minister Louis Botha, a former Boer general, voted to participate in the first World War as allies of the British Empire. Their first campaign was the invasion of German South West Africa (now Namibia).

Many die-hard Boers, particularly of the Orange Free State still seething with anger against the British, formed a rebel force under General Christiaan de Wet, also a former leader of the Boers in the 1899-1902 war and attacked government forces. After a brief clash the rebels were surrounded and taken prisoner.

David Levy, probably without knowing what it was all about, was mobilised with his farmer friends and rode off on commando.

In the engagement, his horse was shot under him and the fall seriously fractured his hip.

At the conclusion of World War I, the farmers of the district collected money to send him to Germany for specialised medical care. Unfortunately the treatment was not successful and the limp remained permanent.

Adapted from the story My Son the Doctor written in the early 1990's by his son, Dr. Norman Levy.

1Joe Woolf's contention is that this picture was taken in Shatt for the following reasons:

Dr. Norman Levy's story states that his father went to Germany for treatment which was unsuccessful. That was after World War I, presumably around 1919 or 1920. Joe estimates that David Levy was born in the early 1890's, which would make him in the late 20's in 1920.

According to the passenger list in 1926 when his fiancée Rose Camber arrived in South Africa, she was age 25, hence born 1901, making her age 19 in 1920. Joe contends that while David Levy was in Germany he used a South African British Passport, got to Shatt, and they had this picture taken together. He could be a young looking late 20's in this picture and she a 19 year old.

However, their son, Dr. Norman Levy, or his sister, emphatically stated that their father never got to Shatt during his German medical trip. So perhaps it was taken in 1926 when Rose Camber arrived in South Africa, when she was 25 and he was around 35. It would be impossible for the picture to have been taken in Shatt before he left about 1906 to 1908, when she was only 6 or 7 years of age.

Joe Woolf concludes that he considered David Levy an uncle, even though he was actually an uncle by marriage to his Katz cousins. David Levy died after Joe had left South Africa for Israel in January 1969. Joe knew of David Levy's bad hip all his years in South Africa, but only now in preparing this article for this website did he finally find out why he limped.

Copyright © 2000-2011 Ada Green

Back to Seta Home Page