JACOB SPILKIN. Jacob Hyman Spilkin was born in Latvia on 20th September 1904 and came to South Africa in 1912, aged 8. He lived in Port Elizabeth until he died at the age of 94 on 24 June 1999. He was married to Bess Spilkin (nee Berger) for 59 years and they had three children: Norman (who died aged 11), Sidney and Irma who both still live in South Africa. Jacob Spilkin was an extraordinary man. He was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Port Elizabeth where his tombstone inscription reads ‘ A brilliant student of the law. A man of immense strength and virtue ‘. This six part interview was filmed on an SVHS video camera in October 1992 by his grand-daughter Lisa Chait and filmmaker Sean O’Sullivan.
Part 1: Jacob’s childhood in Latvia and immigrating to South Africa as a young boy.
Part 2: The Rhodes University years and meeting his wife Bess.
Part 3: A tragedy in the family and some unusual legal cases he defended.
Part 4: Travelling the world defending black South Africans; a lifelong association with the Bantu Church of Christ; founding Wedgwood Golf Club & bowls.
Part 5: Bess, the children; ‘Meshuggenah Mabel’ the housekeeper; Isaac the groundsman; a fateful trip overseas; practising law until the age of 84 and Bess’s death.
Part 6: Getting on in years; visiting family in Cape Town; exercising; reading; living alone; his medical condition and passing the time in old age.