One of the stories told by my grandmother Rose was about her father-in-law, Charles Feinstein, who was born on 25 June 1859 in Libau (Liepaja), Latvia. I wrote this down from what she told me: “He ran a grocery shop in Jeppestown, Johannesburg, after working as a picture framer. After his children had left home, he used to send a servant to his daughter Mary’s house in O’Reilly Road, where she would make food for the servant to take back. In September 1930 the servant came and said that Charles was very ill. The servant disappeared, and Charles was found dead in his room. He had told the servant that he had bought a new suit and saved £50 for Rose and Louis’s wedding. Both had been taken. The servant was later imprisoned.”

It was not until our last visit to Cape Town that I was able to find any evidence for this story. This involved hours of peering at microfilmed issues of the Johannesburg newspapers in the library (I don’t think many South african newspapers have been digitised yet – it would be great if they were!).

Charles Feinstein 1930

Although it was a shock to see this in black and white, it was amazing to finally have confirmation. Unfortunately it took so long that we didn’t read on to find out what happened to the servant.

The newspaper account mentions that a relative, Mr Perlman, had a duplicate key to the property and made the discovery, but I have not been able to find out who he was. I would also like to know what Charles’s middle name was.

This dreadful event happened in September, and Rose and Louis got married the following month. Charles was Ari’s 3x great-grandfather.

Ari, this shows how you are related to Charles:

Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 09.35.22

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3 thoughts on “Family stories: murdered for a wedding suit

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