Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research

Jewish Digital Archive Project

Family album

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The Jewish family album tells stories, following the journey of Jewish people in South Africa over time. From the platteland to the city, from the immigrant to the acculturised, and from the 'Jew' to the 'South African'. Interwoven in these journeys is the dynamic notion of diaspora in the South African and Jewish senses. The family collections tell stories of migrations that took place over time for a myriad of reasons, political economic, cultural and personal.

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Jewish Ladies Communal League Durban Jewish troops
Jewish community involvement - Jewish Ladies Communal League Jewish troops in a mess hall in Durban on their way to fight for the Allies during World War 2
Piketberg Commercial Hotel today Piketberg bioscope today
Piketberg - the Commercial Hotel (1899) was first owned by the Weinreich family and then owned by Barry Cohen family Piketberg - the old Bioscope was owned by Baraitzer family and has since burnt down
Many Jews on arriving in SA found their homes in the small country communities like Piketberg. Mendel Sachs was one of the first settlers in Piketberg, arriving around 1880. By 1891 there were already several well-off Jews in Piketberg, among them ostrich feather traders and "smouse" (peddlers).In earlier times, the community had kosher meat brought in from neighbouring Moorreesburg. In 1902 there were 100 Jews in Piketberg and only 102 in 1936. By 1951 the number had dropped to 51 and in 1980 there were only 11 Jews still in the town. The synagogue became an information centre and museum in 1996.

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