Rahle Mendelsohn

Ari’s 3x great-grandmother Rahle (Rachel) Mendelsohn was born on 16 Aug 1875 in Memel (Klaipeda), now in Lithuania. She was the second daughter of Moses Mendelsohn and Minna Chaskelson.

On 13 Oct 1899, she married Louis Koppel Hurwitz. This is the wedding invitation:

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 15.50.45.png

 

lkhrahle

The photo above was also taken that year. The couple lived in Vilnius with Rahle’s sister-in-law Chasel (Charlotte), and their first son Charles was born in Memel on 7 May 1901. Rahle was not happy in Vilnius, and persuaded her husband to emigrate to South Africa, where her two brothers, Mende and Sussman, and her uncle Benhard Chaskelson lived.

They came to Woodstock, Cape Town and then moved to Johannesburg and lived above the bicycle shop. The second son, John, was born in Johannesburg in 1903, and then two daughters: Anne in 1905 and Charlotte (Lottie) in 1906. In 1907, they moved to 88 Juta St in Braamfontein. Their daughter Rose (Ari’s great-great grandmother) was born on 10 Nov 1907.

An unfortunate incident occurred in 1915 when LK and Rahle were coming home from celebrating their anniversary. LK jumped off a tram at a stop. Leaning forward to catch him, Rahle fell off, breaking her hip. She was taken to hospital but she never fully recovered. She limped, and it affected her – she never went out. In April 1924 LK took her to Germany for treatment and Anne, Charlotte and Rose went too. He had wanted to go in 1918 while his father was still alive in Vilnius but the war made this impossible. His father died in 1920.

In 1933 LK and Rahle travelled to England on the Kenilworth Castle.

Louis Koppel and Rahle

bris

Rahle died aged 63 on 4 Sept 1938, at 220 Jan Smuts Avenue, Johannesburg. The cause of death was uraemia caused by thrombophlebitis of left leg and varicose veins. She was buried the same day at Brixton Cemetery.

RACHEL_MENDELSOHN Hurwitz_dc.jpg

RACHEL_MENDELSOHN Hurwitz_dc2.jpg

An inventory of her movable property lists “her day jewelry (2 Rings, 1 Necklace, 1 Watch and sundry trinkets) and sundry clothing”, valued at approx £30 altogether.

Rahle and LK had a joint will.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 16.29.18

Ari, this shows how you are related to Rahle:

Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 10.03.58

Advertisements

Family stories: murdered for a wedding suit

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

LK Hurwitz and the Raleigh Cycle Co. Ltd

One of Ari’s 3x great-grandfathers was Louis Koppel (known as LK) Hurwitz. He was born on 19 Nov 1873 in Svencionys, Lithuania and emigrated to Woodstock, Cape Town in 1901, where his wife Rahle’s brothers had a cycle business. In 1903 he moved to Johannesburg and set up in business on his own.

lkhbikeshop2

I love this photo of LK and Rahle with their three oldest children, Charles (b 1901), John (b 1903) and Anne (b 1905).

LK and family

LK had an agreement with Raleigh to sell their bikes in South Africa, and I came across some correspondence relating to this which is held in the Nottinghamshire Archives. I wrote to them to ask for a copy of the letters.

DD.RN.10.4.76.1.55 m

Ari, this shows how you are related to Louis:

Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 09.51.15