88 S. African L.J. 280 (1971)
Walter Pollak QC

handle is hein.journals/soaf88 and id is 298 raw text is: ZoU                              THE SOUTH AFRICAN LAW JOURNAL
IN MEMORIAM: WALTER POLLAK QC
Walter Pollak has taken the last step on the road along which we are
all walking towards the same end. Though he left this country over
eleven years before his death, to his friends and admirers here the
memory of this tall, heavy, deliberate-moving, slow-speaking but
quick-thinking man abided; and it was with a deep sense of shock and
sadness that they heard of his death on 13 June while on holiday in
Vienna from the last of a number of heart attacks spread over many
years. I am among those who mourn his loss and I would that the light
of his life and work continue to shine for others as it does for me.
Pollak was born in Johannesburg on 24 October 1903, the son of
Dr Emil Pollak, a medical practitioner who had qualified in Prague
in the then Bohemia and had settled in Johannesburg just before the
end of the last century. Dr Pollak, who died in 1929, was a man of
culture and congeniality who built up a large practice. Walter's mother
was the sister of the famed actress and producer, Leontine Sagan.
Professor Hansi Pollak, the sociologist, is Walter's cousin, the daughter
of Dr Pollak's brother Max. It was to a family of intellectual and
cultural distinction that Walter belonged. And in it he shone because
of his endowment with remarkable mental gifts. His preparatory
education was at the German School in Johannesburg. From there he
went to St John's College, where after two double removes he passed
his matriculation examination in the first class in 1918 when he had just
turned 15. Thereafter he enrolled for the BA, majoring in classics, at
the School of Mines and Technology at Johannesburg, which was
conferred on him with distinction in 1921. The BA Hons he obtained
at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, the successor
to the School of Mines, in 1922, in classics in the first class, followed by
the MA with distinction the next year.
Then Pollak decided to study law. Once he told me that he was torn
between it and medicine, but finally decided on the profession in which
he would qualify soonest, for he wished to get married. Dr the Hon
O D Schreiner, the formerjudge of appeal, has a recollection of having
given Pollak a recommendation for admission to Trinity College,
Cambridge, where he had studied. At all events, there Pollak went on
a scholarship in 1923, where he secured a first class pass in Parts I and n
of the Law Tripos and was an exhibitioner. In 1924, while a student, he
married Jane London. His first child, Victor, was born in September
1926.
At Cambridge Pollak started those legal writings the clarity and
incisiveness of which contributed considerably to his reputation. In
(1925) 2 Cambridge Law Journal 215-19 and 222-3 can be found notes
by 'W.P.' on Cantiare San Rocco SA v Clyde Shipbuilding & Engineering
Co Ltd [1924] AC 226, that leading Scottish case on termination of
contract by supervening impossibility of performance, and on George

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