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George Fajans

George Fajans

Male 1911 - 1988  (76 years)

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  • Name George Fajans 
    Born 13 Jul 1911  Bernau, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Biography My father was born in 1911, and grew up in Bernau, near Berlin, Germany. He earned a doctorate in law in Leipzig, Germany, but hadn't put his degree to much practical use yet when he fled Hitler in 1933. He went to South Africa, where he married my mother who's maiden name was Stern. While he was a lawyer by profession, he became a businessman out of necessity.
    Both my parents were active in the community, elected to our local town council where they served for many years, and my mother particularly did an enormous amount charitable work.


    -----------------------

    George was the son of Heinrich and Flora nee Henius. George had received a Doctorate in Law in Germany in accordance with his parents' wishes, but was never able to practice there. He had in fact wanted to become an engineer. He immigrated to South Africa in 1933and said that he had never seen a sight more beautiful than Table Mountain in Cape Town. The day following his arrival, he spent on the beach eating pineapples, and ended the day with blisters on his tongue from the pineapples and on his skin from severe sunburn.

    In January or February of 1934 the Refugee Committee advised him to go to Johannesburg, and this George did, knowing that his friend Gert Wulfsohn was there. When he arrived in Johannesburghe went to Gert's boarding house on the corner of Banket and Kapteijn Streets, Hillbrow. He arrived there at about 11 a.m., and of course Gert was at work. However a man in a green and grey dressing gown came down the stairs and struck up a conversation. He was Walter Sternheim (who was probably unemployed at that time) and was destined to become George'sbrother-in- law. George booked himself into the boarding house. That evening, he, Walter, Gert Wulfson and a Harry Blumen were sitting eating dinner in the dining room (they subsequently found out that their landlady, Mrs. Schmidt, used to dish up the meals with her bare hands!) and at the adjacent tables at Ilse,Hildegard and Margot Stern.

    The Stem sisters lived in a modest furnished room nearby and as it had no cooking facilities, used to eat at Mrs Schmidt's establishment.Thus on his first day in Johannesburg, George met both his future wife, and his future brother-in law and sisters- in- law. George was immediately attracted to Margot, and they got engaged in 1936 with a view to marrying shortly thereafter, but delayed the wedding until he had obtained a decent job with Mazista Slate. They were married in the Berea Shul in December 1937. George's mother sent them crockery and cutlery as a wedding present as well as a Grand Piano, which she had received as a gift for her wedding. This piano is now in the possession of Dennis Fajans.

    George became a naturalised South African in February 1939, and later that year joined the army. He enlisted in the Imperial Light Horse Regiment (the joke went that they had no horses!) and underwent basic training in the Eastern Transvaal.George, who had done Cadets at school had to practice not goosestepping. At that time Nazi activity in South Africa was high (the Ossewa Brandwag) and soldiers were warned to move around in groups so they would not be beaten up by Nazi thugs. George described his army career as undistinguished, and after moving around the Eastern Transvaal for a while, left for Egypt in June 1941. There they travelled up and down the western desert, and took part in the Battle of El Alamein. He returned to South Africa on a crowded troopship in January 1943. He spent time in Simonstown until the end of the war and was discharged in 1945. By this time he already had two children, Sandra and Stanley. Right throughout the war Mazista paid him a small allowance.

    At this time empty shops were not easy to hire, but while chasing a bad client for Mazista, George found an empty shop with a field next door in Edenvale, a small town adjacent to Johannesburg. It was here that he started Edenvale Timberand Hardware, and after buying another two stands, and building a house, moved the family to Edenvale in 1949. He was actively engaged in civic politics and was elected to the Town Council of Edenvale in 1953.He was elected on an independant ticket, shunning both the big political parties of the day. He became Mayor of Edenvale in 1958/59 and again in 1966/67. He separated from Margot and after her death he married Lydia Daniels. Lydia died in 1984. George died of Fibrosing Alveolitis, at age 76. Throughouthis life he had generously supported the University of Beer Sheba.  [1
    Hebrew Birth 17 Tam 5671 
    Immigration 1933  South Africa Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Hebrew Death 29 Iya 5748 
    Occupation Lawyer (Germany) Businessman (South Africa) 
    Residence Bernau, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Residence Johannesburg, South Africa Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 16 May 1988  Johannesburg, South Africa Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I1926  Blank Family
    Last Modified 4 Apr 2011 

    Family 1 Margot Stern,   b. 4 Mar 1912, Schweitzer Reinecke, South Africa Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Apr 1982, Johannesburg, South Africa Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years) 
    Married 31 Dec 1937  Johannesburg, South Africa Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Living
     2. Living
     3. Living
    Family ID F618  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Lydia Daniels,   d. 1984, Johannesburg, South Africa Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F12851  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 13 Jul 1911 - Bernau, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsImmigration - 1933 - South Africa Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 31 Dec 1937 - Johannesburg, South Africa Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - Bernau, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - Johannesburg, South Africa Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 16 May 1988 - Johannesburg, South Africa Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    George Fajans
    George Fajans
    George Fajans (1)
    George Fajans (1)

  • Sources 
    1. [S207] E-mail message, from Stanley Fajans.


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