was originally wealthy in Russia - factory flux - when
warned that government would take over - family decided that children
must leave. Joe's story
- was introduced to Ray in Muizenberg
Jack Lessem came in 1928/50.
Family had relatives - Sher
Livingstone. In Lithuania conditions
were hard. Livingston
more people. Jack was 16 at the time. Came alone. London had a
"Jewish Shelter" to help immigrants and people in transit - Jack
used to send money home. Jack met at boat (language problem) -
Trip - train to Libanon on Baltic -
ship to London. In Cape Town
fetched by S.A. family. Train to
Livingstone - worked in mineral
factory and shop. A few years later Abe was called for to
Livingstone (aged 18). He was a book-keeper. But didn't stay long.
came to Falls he met him and
as a result went to
Palestine and worked in a Bank in Haifa (Weizman
helped him). The
whole family had planned to come to
Livingstone. Father came first
and as there was no shocket or Rabbi -
so seniors who was a Rabbi,
he took up Shchita before arriving.
Opened a little clothing shop
for him which was closed on Saturday and volunteer his services
to keep community Kosher - also
conducted services there. Then in
1954 the whole family came, children were young (Miriam
her own story). Riva attended school.
Ray and Diana had private
lesson - English. Abe was requested to return to help father. All
the family eventually came to Salisbury in 1957. Abe returned to
Salisbury as Hebrew teacher as he wouldn't be allowed to come other-
wise. When permanent residence obtained - went to work for Julius
Frankel. Diana was called by Abe to
come to teach Hebrew in
Salisbury. Livingstone no place for Jewish young girls. Diana
was to stay with an aunt Mrs. Emma Levian
(mothers sister). Diana
teaching Hebrew and studied English, book-keeping, shorthand
and typing. (Hated teaching) - Konviser
came to Salisbury at the
time, sent her to teach scripture in school. Was not qualified.
Sally Alhadeff asked questions in
class. Di didn't know answers -
started to cry. (Prince Edward School). Wanted to leave school
but suddenly notice to quit forthwith.
By that time Di worked two
hours a day for Hymie Const
who instructed her to demand a month
notice otherwise bring congregation to court - got paid.
Hebrew School 1937 - Venue - Guild Hall - 2 classes, beginners
and one advance - 5 lessons a week (ask
- one of her
pupils) - Made Di cry - she was naughty. Pulled Di's
taught about 9 months.
Di left teaching - joined Hymie Const
for Stg 2.10 per month. Soon
got a rise. Well treated. Di took up dancing, played tennis at
Jewish Guild in Belvedere - an active organization (ask Lionel
Harris). Di was left in charge of office a year later when Hymie
went on holiday. Di called to do a liquidation at a certain firm.
Did it so well that received a clock as gift from Hymie on his
return. Worked for Hymie in 1959 when father bought shop in Turk
Mine 15 miles from Bulawayo. Di went to
live in Bulawayo. Whole
family moved to Turk Mine - girls stayed in Bulawayo to study and
work. Ray was a tennis player and hockey in Bulawayo. Ray didn't
work - helped mother at home, stayed in Bulawayo one year, sold
Turk Mine returned to Salisbury. Di and Riva
worked in offices.
Di mixed with non
Jews as worked with them. Used to entertain Jewish
soldiers in House and in Guild Hall -
dances etc. - voluntary
canteen. Riva- picked as youth beauty queen in Salisbury by Zionist
Youth. Had a nice life here.
Ray - Bulawayo - single
championship in tennis in 1942. Alex
for goalie in hockey - spent life in sport because
Alex Park did not re-admit Di as
member in 1941 (anti Semitic).
married after Miriam, then Jack, then Les,
Ray and Riva
had a double wedding in 1946 in Salisbury. Ray met Joe in
Muizenberg (he lived in Verineechin) - Riva met
Johannesburg. Riva lived in South Africa for a few years then
came up to
Salisbury (Riva missed family).
married 1948 in Salisbury.
who came here came to make money and help families
Father was originally wealthy in Russia
- factory flux - when
government would take over - family decided that
Joe's story - was introduced to Ray in Muizenberg
served in Latvia army for one year.
- from Latvia 1939 - war broke out while on board ship. Issy
in Riza - difficult for Jews to be
Had relations in South Africa who suggested he should
come there -
but South Africa did not accept Issy easily. Had an
uncle in Enkeldorn (mother's brother) Ephraim
Blank (Dolly's husband)
from South Hampton to Beira.
On ship - (incident -
painted ship grey for security, no lights etc.) All other members
of family perished by Nazi's.
(Trap set by German officer).
- Umtali met Blank - first year learned
- then took
over running of office. Then left Enkeldoorn
1941 - worked for
Bloom-Braude as accountant. Then ran
the business while Bloom
sons were in army. Issi bought
Lycos Bazaar in partnership with
H. Koblenz Senior. Later opened United
partner - also ran country stores also an outfitting shop in travel.
got stuck with van in rivers. Oxen used to pull vehicles out of
rivers (crossing rivers).
When first came - Afrikaaners tried to
entertain Issi, organized
a hunting expedition - at night with a torch strapped to forehead -
switch on, catch eyes, aim between eyes. Suddenly 2 big eyes -
aiming - pulled trigger halfway to shoot - suddenly heard a cow
mooing - this sort of hunting was prohibited - could get into
serious trouble. Considered a foreigner
for five years - in Enkel-
doorn volunteered to forces - accepted as a guard but Issy
linen company and went into Electric Bus. - Electrosales
then F. Neill
and Sons (Pvt) Ltd. in Salisbury and Bulawayo
butcher's requisites, spice, weighing
equipment. Then sold business
and went on Aliya 1978.