Judel (Iudel) Reuven

Judel Reuven was born in Zagar, Lithuania. He married Sorah Gita Broude, daughter of Leybe.  She may have been a cousin but at this time, we do not know how. Judel Reuven and Sorah Gita had 8 children who will be discussed below. The fact had he emigrated to Cape Town and had 8 children was confirmed in a letter written to me in 1981 by my cousin, Milly Simmons.

letter confirming Judel Reuven's 8 children

There is correspondence in the Lithuaian Archives about the disappearance of Bliden Yudel, son of Ber. His wife, Sora Gita, daughter of Leyb, asks for separate passport in 1907, as her husband has been missing for 10 years.

Judel was issued permission to go back to Russia by the Russian Consulate in Memel on the basis of a passport subsequently issued to him by the Old Zhager town dwellers administration on July 5, 1909. He obviously did not return to Russia. His wife died in Zhager in 1910. The family went to London and subsequently all emigrated to South Africa.

In 1912 he reappears and is sought by police who fine him for illegally crossing the border. Yudel was 63 in 1912.

The family surname was spelled as Bliden and some members changed it to Bleeden.

Judel Ruben Bleeden, as he was known in South Africa, died on June 9, 1935. He is buried in Maitland Cemetery, Gate 8, Grave G, in Cape Town.

The tombstone says that he was mourned by his children and grandchildren.

Judel Reuven Bleeden's Gravestone

The Children of Judel Reuven and Sorah Gita

My father’s first cousin, Milly Simmons, and I became penpals after meeting at my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Teaneck, NJ, about 1975. Luckily, I saved her letters. She wrote to me on thin airmail stationary squeezing in as much information as she could. I was always excited to receive one of her letters, although it was often hard to decipher her handwriting and often took several readings to understand it all.

The Children of Judel Reuven

Leah (Liebe) Kantor

Leah was born circa 1970 in Zagare, Lithuania. She married Barnett Kantor. They had 3 children. Leah died on December 18, 1968, in Cape Town, South Africa.

In 2006, Liebe’s grand-daughter, Berry (Berenice) Neumann emailed me this story about her grandmother:

. . . they came here to Cape Town by ship and that my grandmother, Lieba, brought with her a canary which had survived the fire that burnt down their house in Riga.  Apparently, this bird always used to sing to her mother, who was very ill and subsequently died before they left for South Africa and she felt she couldn’t leave it behind.  Believe it or not, this canary survived the journey from Russia to London and then to Cape Town – quite amazing isn’t it.

Cousins, Liebe and Herman Blieden, stayed in close contact with each other, according to Berry’s mother. Berry also told me that:

My grandparents, Lieba and Ber Kantor came to South Africa by ship in 1911 from London. They had been staying at the Poor Jews temporary shelter there.  As far as we know they came on the Avondale Castle.

Maurice Samuel Bleeden

Maruice was born circa 1881 in Zagare, Lithuania. On December 28, 1913, he married Rosie Ehrlich in Aberdeen, Cape Province, South Africa. He was about 31 years old and she was about 20.

They had one son and 2 daughters.

He died on April 6, 1951 in Parys, South Africa where he is buried.

The photo of his gravestone was found at the eGGSA Library.

Maurice Samuel Bleeden's Gravestone

Bessie (Basche) Lipman

Bessie was born circa 1984 in Zagare, Lithuania. She married Robert Lipman and they had 2 children. Her nickname was Tirtsa Basha and she had been a dressmaker.

Bessie died on may 21, 1951. She is buried in West Park Cemetery, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Bessie Lipman

Sheina Jane Berelowitz

Sheina was born circa 1886 in Zagare, Lithuania. She was the wife of Philip Berelowiz. They had 2 sons and 1 daughter. She died on August 12, 1968 in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Abraham Jacob (Yankel) Bleeden

Jacob was born circa 1891 in Zagare, Lithuania. He never married and lived in Smithfield in the Free State of South Africa. He died August 9, 1927 at the Royal Hotel in Smithfield, Free State, South Africa.

Saul Hymie (Chaim Shevel) Bleeden

Hymie was born on December 25, 1892 in Zagare, Lithuania. He married Kate (Kitty) Kayles. They had 3 children: one son and 2 daughters. He died on January 18, 1950 in Bloemfontein, South Africa and is buried in Bloemfontein Memorial Cemetery.

Barnett (Barney) Bleeden

Barney was born on March 26, 1893 in Zagare, Lithuania. He married Anne Katz. they had 5 children.

A passenger list for the steamship Galeka which dparted on the 13th of September, 1911 from London, England headed for Cape Town, lists a third-class passenger, Mr. Ber Blieden, a trader, of Russian origin.

He died on February 9, 1941 and is buried in the Brixton Jewish Cemetery in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Barney was named after his paternal grandfather, Ber, son of Yehuda Reuven.

Gravestone of Barney Bleeden

Rebecca (Becky) Moffson

Rebecca was born circa 1900 in Zagare, Lithuania. She married Isaac Moffson on April 5, 1927 in Johannesburg. They had one child, a daughter. She died in Israel. She had moved to /Israel to join her daughter on a kibbutz.

Thank you to:

  • Naomi Rapeport for her extensive research on South African Bliedens (various spellings)
  • Ben Lipkowitz for corresponding with the Lithuanian Archives
  • Brent Hirsch for sharing his research on his Blieden family tree with me
  • the late Milly Blieden Simmons for corresponding with me in the 1980’s.
  • the late Berenice Neumann for corresponding with me in the early 2000’s.


Zagare(Old) Siauliai Kaunas Bliden Iudel; father Ber age 18 years, date 13 October 1866 page 439 registration 31 Publication Additional Revision List LVIA/1262/1/124 www.jewishgen.org Litvak SIG Lithuanian databases, Taxpayers List 1889
  • South Africa, Cape Province, Civil Deaths Name Judel Reuben Bleeden Event Type Death Event Date 09 Jun 1935 Event Place Cape Town, Cape Province, South Africa Residence Place 3 Tamboerskloof Road Cape Town Gender Male Age 86 Birth Year (Estimated) 1849
  • Cape Town Jewish Cemeteries – Judel Reubin Bleeden
  • South Africa, Transvaal, Civil Marriages Name Isaac Moffson Event Type Marriage Event Date 5 Apr 1927 Event Place Johannesburg, Johannesburg Gender Male Age 36 Birth Year (Estimated) 1891 Spouse’s Name Rebecca Bleeden Spouse’s Gender Female Spouse’s Age 27 Spouse’s Birth Year (Estimated) 1900
  • Naomi Rapeport correspondence with Royi Frame June 2005.
  • South Africa, Orange Free State, Probate Records from the Master of the Supreme Court, 1832-1989 Abraham Jacob Bleeden birth:1891Lithaunia, Russia death: 9 August 1927 probate:1927 Smithfield, Smithfield, Orange Free State, South Africa
  • Brent Hirsch Family Tree on MyHeritage.com: entry for Bessie Lipman
  • BLEEDEN, BARNETT. TAB MHG_0_605/41_1 Date:1941 Source: MHGReference: 605/41 Repository: National Archives Repository (Public Records of former Transvaal Province and its predecessors as well as of magistrates and local authorities) General notes: SURVIVING SPOUSE BLEEDEN (BORN KATZ).
  • SA Jewish Rootsband. Listing shipping manifest 1906 – 1916. mr. Blieden, Ber. ship’s name Galeka. 1911.