Frenkel, Jacob Nahum

Plot Location2C7
Given Name(s)Jacob Nahum
Place of BirthOdessa
Date of Birth (Eng)April 6, 1907
Date of Birth (Heb)15 Nisan 5667 (should be 22 Nisan 5667)
Date of Death (Eng)April 1, 1961
Date of Death (Heb)15 Nisan 5721
Age at Death53
Hebrew Nameיעקב ב״ר נחום
Spouse’s NameAnna Ginsbourg
Father’s NameNahum Frenkel
Mother’s NameFanya Frenkel
Other Surnames 
Marital StatusM
Maiden Name 
Title (e.g., Dr) 
Religious Status (כ/ל/י) 
Cause of DeathHeart attack
Other Family DataChildren: Robert Baruch Frenkel (b. 1939) and Emily Helene Frenkel (b. 1946). Father-in-law: Alexander Ginsbourg (2C8)
Inscription (Eng)IN LOVING MEMORY OF
Inscription (Heb)לזכר עולם הם׳ יעקב ב״ר נחום נ״ע נולד ט״ו ניסן תרס״ז נלב״ע ט״ו ניסן תשכ״א
Inscription (Other) 
HistoricalJacob moved to Harbin with his parents after the Russian Revolution. He graduated from Harbin Polytechnic Institute as a railway and civil engineer. According to the Carl Smith archive, he came to HK from Shanghai in 1937 (coincident with the evacuation?) and joined H.K. Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd, which was located at 1/F, 379 Nathan Road, Kowloon. He and Anna married in 1938. The family lived at 61 Kadoorie Avenue in Kowloon.

At the start of the war, he enlisted in the H.K.V.D.C. (service number 4109) as a sapper with the engineering corps. He was captured on Christmas Day 1941 by the Japanese and was interned as a POW at the Shamshuipo Camp. (His service record lists his birthday as April 19, 1907.) After the war, he rejoined the HKECC in charge of the Franki piling system. This system was used in the foundations of a number of key buildings in HK including the City Hall, the Bank of China Building, the Chartered Bank Building (where the Standard Chartered Bank Building is today), Union House (where Chater House is today), Peninsula Court (where the Kowloon Hotel is today), the Park Hotel (on the corner of Cameron Road and Chatham Road South in TST), the new terminal building at Kai Tak airport and many apartment buildings and residences.

He became a naturalised British citizen in 1947.

According to his son, he had planned to move to Sydney and join his family who had settled there after the war but it never happened. Anna became a prominent specialist in family law in Sydney and the family lived in the suburb of Lindfield. She died in 2001 at age 90 and is buried in Macquarie Park Cemetery.

Around 1999, Anna endowed the Jacob Frenkel Prize in Civil Engineering at the University of New South Wales. It is awarded annually to the school’s top first or second year civil and environmental engineering student.

Son, Bob Frenkel, wrote on 3 October 2020:
“I have no memory of 6 Princes Gate in London in 1945. I do have vague memories of our visit to Brussels at around that time, partly because of my father’s interest in Franki piling as a construction process for tall buildings (a Belgian invention, as I understand; no connection with the name Frenkel).”

Daughter, Emily Matters, wrote on 27 December 2020:
“My parents bought a house in Sydney in 1956 with a view to moving to Australia when my father finished his contract in Hong Kong. For family reasons, my mother, my maternal grandmother and I moved in 1958 so that my brother, who had been at school in England, could start university in Sydney that year. My father made several visits to Sydney and my mother visited him in Hong Kong. It was during my mother’s visit in 1961 that my father suffered a heart attack and died. His contract was due to finish at the end of that year and he would have moved to Sydney permanently.”

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