Southern Africa Jewish Genealogy Special Interest Group (SA-SIG)


Cantor Binyamin Minc

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In October 2003, Dr. Pnina Rosenberg wrote:
The High Holidays always remind me of my grandfather who was a cantor (Hazen). I used to accompany him to the synagogue and I still hear his prayers.
My grandfather, Binyamin Minc (Minz) born in Vilnius, moved to Shaulen (Shavli) where he was the Cantor at the "Great Synagogue" (Di Greisse Schul) - during the period of 1931-1941. He also founded and directed the synagogue's choir, in which my mother - Haviva-Luba-Libale Minc - also participated (disguised as a boy.).
While in Shaulen he took part in a concert of the well-known cantor Yosef (Yosele) Kosovitzki, who toured Europe. Kosovitzky was so impressed by my grandfather's talent and asked him to come with him to the States, my grandfather refused since he felt himself very rooted in the Lithuanian-Jewish community and culture. It was 1938 !!! After WW2 he immigrated with his wife - Rashe Gite Minc (nee Lancman-Lanzman) - to Israel. Two of his daughters (my mother and my aunt) who survived the Holocaust also immigrated to Israel.
In 1956 he was asked to be the Cantor at the Panevezs Schul in Johannesburg (South Africa). During summer time he moved to Durban and to Cape Town where he also served as a cantor. He moved to Israel during 1963 and passed away some years later. (1975).
My question is has anybody came across my grandfather's name in the Afrikaner Jewish press or anywhere else and have some information about the time he was in South Africa? If not, can anyone indicate archives, Jewish institutions etc. in South Africa or elsewhere, where I could trace his activity?
I would also like to have more information about the time he was in the Shaulen Great Schul (destroyed already) and will be happy to get archival-photographic information about it, the choir etc.

Many thanks in advance,

Wishing you a very happy and peaceful new year,

Dr. Pnina Rosenberg.

Haifa, Israel.
Includes Yiddish transliteration.