Genealogy Research on LIEBERMAN South African Family Member Originally from Belarus #belarus #southafrica


Hello all,

I am researching my family history. I am searching for information about my great-great-aunt who moved to South Africa sometime around the beginning of the 20th century (she was born somewhere in what is now Belarus probably around Minsk or Byerazino). My family has lost contact with her part of the family a long time ago. I am told her husband owned a South African department store. Her maiden name is LIEBERMAN / LIBERMAN but I do not know what her husband's first and last name was. I am not sure how to track down what happened to her and her family. Below is information about the rest of her family.

Her brother, my great grandfather, Henry Lieberman (I think he was also known as Hillel), was born in Eastern Europe (probably Berezina or somewhere in/near Minsk) around 1882 (give or take a few years). Their father's name was Zvulun Lieberman (maybe also known as Julius) and their mother's name was Rachel (maiden name Frumkin). I am told that Henry/Hillel was one of six children. Besides for his sister that moved to South Africa, he had a brother (youngest of the siblings) Yosef that we think stayed in Russia/Belarus, a pair of twin brothers that moved to the U.K. (and both got married) and a sister Bayla/Beckie/Rebecca (or maybe also Zlota?) that moved to the U.S. and got married. Henry/Hillel escaped from Russia/Belarus around 1904 and then lived with his twin brothers in the U.K. for a few months before making his way to America, his final destination.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to track down what happened to my great-great-aunt who moved to South Africa and any children she may have had? Does anyone know of any Jews that owned South African department stores in the first half of the 20th century? I assume they lived in Johannesburg or maybe Cape Town because that's where most Jews live. Also, if anyone thinks they may have a connection please let me know.

Thank you so much,  Jason jliebe97@...>

Risa Heywood

I would suggest contacting the archivist at the South African Jewish Museum in Cape Town. Their mission is to document the history and cultural life of Jews in South Africa and they may have information on Jewish-owned department stores. Their email is info@.... Once you have a list, you could research the owners. The museum is located in a complex that includes a library (and also the Gardens Synagogue), so the museum archivist could also refer you to a librarian for further research. Perhaps the husband is listed in The South African Jewish Year Book with a bio. JewishGen has an index and the Gardens library has copies of the books.

Risa Daitzman Heywood

Howard Lewis

Jason - I have a copy of 1929 South African Jewish Yearbook which shows an entry for Abraham Liberman, born in UK in 1874, married Dora Buirski in 1899 in SA and had four children. He was listed as a merchant in the business directory and was involved in various communal activities, including as President of Cape Town Hebrew Congregation. 

There was a close connection between these two families. Lieberman & Buirski was a successful firm specialising in wheat and wool and co owned by Hymie Lieberman (who was the first Jewish mayor of Cape Town 1903-07) and Abraham Buirski. 

You did not mention the first name of your great great aunt but I would research marriage and immigration records in SA databases. Also look at business archives there as they may reveal unexpected information about the possible department store. Do let me know if any further queries emerge and I can consult the yearbook!

With all good wishes - Howard Lewis