Samuel Judelman
שמואל יודלמן

Samuel (Shmuel Sroel) married Millie, the younger of two Gentin daughters from Bloemfontein in 1918, with whom he was madly in love judging by the love letters he sent her.

They had 3 sons. Ben-Zion (Benchie) was born on September 9, 1919 in Koppies (the 14th day of Elul) and named after his paternal grandfather, although he was officially registered as Bernard Judelman. Some years later, they had another baby named ‘Sroel’ who died of dysentery when he was only 9 months old. Isaac Meir Judelman, commonly known then as “Itch”, short for “Itchke”, and later as Frik to all who knew him, was born on 27th March 1927 (23rd day of Adar II).

Samuel’s job as a ‘gentleman farmer’ had the family living first on one farm called “Weltevrede” on the outskirts of Kopjes and then on another big farm called “Treurfontein” about 18 miles further north. From a child’s point of view, life on the farm and the visits to and from relatives were described as adventures, small mischief, and generally pleasant family times.

These seemingly good years came to an abrupt end with the tragic and premature death of Samuel of pneumonia. From Benchie’s diary: “On one of his trips by cart and pair of horses from the farm, dad was caught in a terrific downpour and arrived home soaking wet. Despite having developed a sore throat the following day, he insisted on traveling back to the farm on Monday only to return within a few days running a raging temperature. Mom called Dr. Liebman who diagnosed double pneumonia. With no hospital available, this great guy died a miserable death on 12th August, 1928. He was 50 years old and was the first to be buried in the little Jewish cemetery in Kopjes.”

Benchie was almost 9 and Isaac 16 months old when they lost their father and Millie never remarried. They moved back to Bloemfontein in 1929 where Millie’s family was living.

In 1960, at the age of 67, Millie joined her sons in Israel, settling on kibbutz Maayan Baruch where Frik was living with his wife, Hedy (nee Zvieli) and their three sons, Shmuel, Niv and Nitsan. She lived to the ripe age of 105 and a half (!) outliving Frik (she called ‘my baby’) who died of cancer at 70.

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