Greenberg, Leopold

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GREENBERG, LEOPOLD (1885–1964), South African judge, born in Calvinia, Cape Province. Raised to the bench at the age of 39, he became judge president of the Transvaal in 1938 and was elevated in 1943 to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, the highest judicial body in South Africa. He was acting chief justice in 1953 and served as officer administering the government in the absence of the governor-general. Known for his erudition, humanity, and caustic wit, he was acknowledged to be among South Africa's ablest judges. After his retirement in 1955, he sat on a judicial commission of inquiry into African disturbances in Johannesburg in 1957.

In Jewish life he was associated mainly with Zionist causes; for many years was honorary president of the Keren Hayesod, the Israel United Appeal, and the South African Friends of the Hebrew University. He was the first South African on the board of governors of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, whose institute of forensic medicine, established from funds raised by South African Jewry, was named after him.

[Lewis Sowden]