Hymie Barsel was born in 1920 in Johannesburg, to Faiga and Moishe Barsel, who were both of Lithuanian heritage. Growing up, he was treated for epilepsy by Dr. Max Joffe, who taught him about the importance of concepts like equality for all of humanity, and the eradication of racial prejudice.
He carried this philosophy over into a life fighting in the liberation movement. In 1945, he married Esther Levin, and together, they worked to organise the Congress of the People in 1955, as well as the Women’s March in Pretoria on 9 August 1956, where 20,000 women marched against the Apartheid Pass Laws. Hymie was charged in the 1956 Treason Trial.
From left: Albie Sachs, Denis Goldberg and Ruth First. Click on the the faces to read more about them.