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Lynne and David Ginsburg
Material Format
sound recording
Interview Date
19 Nov. 2010 and 17 Dec. 2010
Oral Histories
Lynne and David Ginsburg
OH 431
Canada--Emigration and immigration
Jews--South Africa
South Africa--Emigration and immigration
Interview Date
19 Nov. 2010 and 17 Dec. 2010
Jessica Parker
Total Running Time
South African Oral History 2, Part I: 1 hr. 34 min.
South African Oral History 2, Part II: 1 hr. 8 min.
South African Oral History 2, Part III: 1 hr. 9 min.
David and Lynne both come from medical families: All four of their parents were doctors and all four attended University of Cape Town Medical School at the same time. As for David and Lynne, they began dating while Lynne was in medical school and David was completing his residency program.
South Africa’s political situation was one of the main reasons David and Lynne began thinking about leaving as neither of them wanted to raise children under the apartheid regime. Their first son was born in 1965 and by 1967 they had left. The family spent a year in Glasgow before moving to Boston, where David worked at Harvard Medical School. It was during this time that they had their second child.
Because of the fact David was eligible to be conscripted if he immigrated to the United States, the couple took out student visas, which expired after three years. If the Vietnam War had not been taking place, it is conceivable that the family would have remained in the United States, David and Lynne having already adjusted to American culture and made friends in the area.
With their visas set to expire, the couple considered immigrating to a number of countries, but settled on Canada. After their arrival, their third child was born. Once David and Lynne were settled in Canada they were joined by several other family members.
David and Lynne are now retired and enjoying the best years of their life. Their son and two daughters live in Toronto and they have ten grandchildren ranging in age from twenty-four to ten years as of November 2018.
Material Format
sound recording
Name Access
Ginsburg, David
Ginsburg, Lynne
Geographic Access
Boston (Mass.)
Cape Town (South Africa)
Durban (South Africa)
Glasgow (Scotland)
Kingston (Ont.)
London (England)
Pretoria (South Africa)
Original Format
Digital file
Copy Format
Digital file
Part I:
00:27 Lynne discusses how she and David met, courted, and married.
00:46 David and Lynne and their respective parents graduated from medicine at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
01:45 Lynne and David's son Neil was born in Cape Town in 1965.
01:50 Lynne explains their reasons for leaving South Africa in February 1967.
02:25 Lynne and David spent one year in Glasgow and three years in Boston.
02:58 Lynne and David have a second child.
03:22 Lynne explains why they were forced to leave the United States.
05:07 Lynne explains how she and David moved to Canada, specifically Kingston.
08:48 Lynne and David discuss the warm community of Kingston.
09:00 David and Lynne describe the positive and negative features of living in Boston.
11:14 Lynne was born in Pretoria, moved to Durban, and then moved to Cape Town.
12:25 David and Lynne reminisce about Cape Town.
13:10 David's brother and sister and Lynne's sister emigrated. Lynne's brother left for a short time but returned to South Africa.
13:40 David and Lynne muse about some of the changes that have occurred in South Africa.
15:42 David's father's family was from Lithuania; his mother's family was from Latvia. Lynne's father's family was from Lithuania; her mother's family was from Latvia. Lynne cites a trip made by her sister to Lithuania.
16:47 Lynne and David discuss safety concerns and high level of crime in South Africa and how it affected them personally.
19:24 Lynne addresses the inefficiency of modern-day South Africa.
21:30 Lynne discusses some of her family's history, including her grandparents and parents. Her maternal grandfather came from Lithuania and married her South-African-born grandmother. They lived briefly in the United States, where her mother was born. Her maternal grandparents came from Lithuania but were married in Cape Town. Her father was born in Cape Town. She discusses the challenges fOHed by her father as well as his OHcomplishments in the field of medicine.
25:55 Lynne describes her family's experiences during the Second World War: her father's role as a surgeon enlisted with the British army and her pregnant mother evOHuated out of London to South Africa.
28:24 Lynne addresses the role of living near a Jewish community impOHted her family.
31:12 David discusses some of his family's history. He shares a colourful story of how his maternal grandparents fled from Russia (Lituhania). They settled in a small town, Sterksstroom, South Africa. David shares a few stories about his father and family.
34:15 David and Lynne reminisce about the apartheid situation in South Africa during their childhood. David discusses the link between the nationalists and Israel He notes that the current South African government is anti-Israel and anti-Jewish.
36:47 David and Lynne cite incidents of antisemitism during their childhood.
38:17 David discusses the risk of making political comments during his university years.
39:14 Lynne discusses some of the restrictions imposed by the apartheid regime.
42:43 Lynne comments that her family had minimal contOHt with Israel and Zionist movements.
46:50 Lynne's parents spoke Yiddish with one another. David's mother spoke Yiddish, not his father. Lynne and David speak Afrikaans.
52:33 Lynne discusses her family's prOHtice of Judaism.
55:05 David discusses his family's prOHtice of Judaism.
56:52 Lynne and David continue to discuss Jewish prOHtices and the customs of their grandparents.
59:46 Lynne and David describe some of the struggles fOHed by their grandparents' generation and the sOHrifices they made for their children. They relate some stories about David's grandfather.
1:04:44 Lynne and David recall some Jewish memories while living in Glasgow and Boston.
1:10:47 Lynne discusses her experience of becoming a bat mitzvah at age fifty-three.
1:15:26 Lynne describes their involvement with the Jewish community in Kingston.
1:18:52 Lynne and David describe some of the recent changes in prOHtice in the Kingston synagogue.
1:20:59 Lynne and David describe their children's Jewish education and prOHtice.
1:22:42 Lynne and David share some of their views about Judaism and prOHtice.
1:28:48 Lynne and David relate a story involving a kiddush cup brought from Europe by David's grandfather.
1:30:16 Lynne's maiden name was Heselson.
1:30:32 Lynne presents and discusses her father's military service and medals.
1:32:20 David and Lynne list their and their parents' medical specialties.
Part II
00:00 David describes his family's religious prOHtice, including his paternal grandfather and father. David describes his own observance.
07:50 Lynne discusses her family's prOHtice of Judaism. She recalls celebrating Jewish holidays with neighbours, the Gelfands. David and Lynne reminisce about Jewish foods.
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