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Ruchel and Nathan Lazar

David Spivak

My Great Zaida Nathan Lazar (1867-1952) Who Partnered with David Spivak in South Africa

by Rosalie Lazar, December 19, 2013


[Editor's note: Thank you to Rosalie Lazar for her information about my great grandfather David Spivak. I had never known he had immigrated to Johannesburg, and neither did my father Frank know about this. You have filled in a piece of my own family history ].



I have heard stories of my great Zaida all of my life but unfortunately never met him. He was physically a strong man with a strong personality and was often referred to by his family as “the Governor.”



He left Europe and immigrated to Johannesburg, South Africa to work, first in the diamond mines then as a blacksmith and later as an owner of a livery business to raise funds for his family's immigration to Canada.


His partner in the livery business was David Spivak. He and David Spivak left Johannesburg during the Boar war when the British outlawed horses on the streets of the Johannesburg. David Spivak and Nathan Lazar both immigrated to North Springfield, Manitoba near Bird's Hill where they both settled in the Jewish farming colony of Bird’s Hill and became farmers.


Nathan arrived in Canada in 1907 and his wife and children living in Europe followed in 1908. He was one of the founding members of the Congregation Beth Sha'ul built by the Jewish community of Birds Hill.


He was widowed during his early retirement years then fought bowel disease surviving major surgery. He remained independent for many years despite these challenges. He eventually moved in with his son Louis, daughter-in-law Gertie( Genendal nee Daiter) and grandchildren living with them on their farm  just down Rebeck Road from his original farm in the RM of Springfield.


He remained on the farm from 1906 till his passing.


His grandchildren recall how on the 5th night of Chanukah he would shower them with coins from above as they sat on the floor playing dreidel. He would tell them that the coins came from the angels. The grandchildren loved this then they would go to the store and buy treats from the angels.


He has left behind a legacy of his descendants being provided a safe haven in Canada as a result of his hard work.


I think of his hard work when I visit my Dad's home where his handmade copper pot is on display with the name Nuchum(the diamond miner, blacksmith, business man, farmer, the Governor and my great Zaida ) etched into it in Nuchum’s Yiddish writing.


His great-grandson Dr. Neil Lazar and great-great grandson Nathan Lazar are named in his memory. 


Rosalie Lazar from oral history by Edward Harry Lazar( Nathan Lazar’s grandson)


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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