Response From Our Readers

The five printed volumes of the series on Jewish Life in the South African Country Communities have been enthusiastically received by readers both locally and worldwide. We would like to share with you some of the comments we have received.

“The very act of documenting the minutiae of the Jewish rural past, in addition to the date it contains for the benefit of future scholars, has become in itself a respectful tribute to those who have gone before. ... [N]o effort has been spared to uncover even the most minor instance of Jewish activity in the most nondescript, out-of-the-way hamlets which few, if any, Jews visit nowadays. The uplifting message is that every Jew counts, not just the millionaires, mayors and various communal machers, but also the saddler, tailor, smous or bootmaker. This explains the general enthusiasm with which the first volume has been greeted in the Jewish community.”
“I recently set off on a tour of the north-eastern Cape armed with various tour books, including Vol. 3 of Jewish Life in the South African Country Communities. … One no longer has to go to the cemetery to know of the Jews who had created a community for themselves. Even if there was no shul in the town, I could still read about the lives of the Jewish community. … From Lady Grey there is the story of Sarah Bella Glueck, the brave postmistress during the Anglo-Boer War. Without this book I would not have known about a house on the main road of Willowmore, its fence made up of Magen Davids.”
“The evolution of the immense Jewish contribution to South Africa constitutes a huge part of the history of our relatively young nation. These books are valuable pieces of Africana that document the progress of a country from rural backwater to modern day industrial powerhouse. The photographs in particular are of important historical interest, especially those of buildings still recognisable throughout the land.”
Jewish Life in the South African Country Communities is beautifully laid out, with a particularly rich assemblage of photographs – both historical and of a more recent vintage. The reader can discover the countries of origin of the various Jewish stamvaders who arrived in South Africa from many different European nations, all the way from England to Russia.”
“In our opinion, Jewish Life in the South African Country Communities is a must-have for every South African Jewish family and even more so for those who have emigrated in more recent years. It is also of considerable interest to all South Africans with an interest in their national history and in how this relates to their personal stories. This is a missing piece of that history, and a truly marvellous one at that.”
“The book evoked great pride of where and what I came from, but simultaneously and sadly, nagging nostalgia and resignation at the loss of what once was. It is beautifully compiled and thoroughly researched.”
“The evolution of the immense Jewish contribution to South Africa constitutes a huge part of the history of our relatively young Nation. These books are valuable pieces of Africana that document the progress of a country from rural backwater to modern day industrial powerhouse. The photographs in particular are of important historical interest, especially those of buildings still recognizable throughout the land."
"This is a fine example of the sort of diligent, professional research and writing that is in diminishing supply in this country, yet which is essential if our shared heritage is to be recorded for future generations."

YOUR VITAL PARTICIPATION AND CONTRIBUTION

This project relies entirely on the generosity of those individuals and trusts in South Africa and abroad who recognise the importance of preserving this unique history. It is hoped that readers of this website will be inspired to give generously to enable the completion of the last two books in this very special series on Jewish Life in the South African Country Communities. Without your assistance, future generations will be unaware of the fascinating story of the Jewish contribution to the growth of the entire country.

If your family and/or friends ever lived in a country town in South Africa, please contact us with any information and photographs you may have. Omissions are obviously regrettable, and we always strive to avoid them.

For purchasing of books, the submission of material and donations to this project please contacts us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at +27 11 645 2598.