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South Africa

The Republic of South Africa, located at the southern tip of the African continent, has coasts on both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The first Europeans to settle in the territory were the Dutch at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652. The British took the territory from the Dutch from 1795 until 1803 and then annexed it in 1806 as Cape Colony. In the 1830's many of the Dutch settlers (known as the Boers) moved inland and later established their own republics, including the South African Republic (later known as Transvaal) in 1852 and Orange Free State in 1848. Meanwhile British colonization continued along the coast and in 1843, the British Colony of Natal was established. In the Second Boer War (1899-1901), both Transvaal and Orange Free State were annexed by the UK. In 1910, the UK consolidated all four territories (Cape Colony, Natal, Transvaal and Orange Free State) into the Union of South Africa, which was granted dominion status. In 1931, the Union (with power exclusively in the hands of the white minority) was granted effective full independence, with the British monarch as head of state, in common with all other British dominions. In 1961, the country, still white-ruled, adopted a republican constitution as the Republic of South Africa and left the British Commonwealth. In 1994, the country held its first multi-racial elections under a new constitution. From 1915 to 1990, South Africa administered South West Africa (now Namibia), initially under a League of Nations mandate.


Jewish Genealogy Society of Johannesburg

Jewish South Africa [August 2009]

Virtual Jewish History Tour of South Africa [August 2009]

Jews in South Africa began with the general European settlement in the 19th century.  Jews were among the directors of the Dutch East India Company that administered the colony at Cape of Good Hope for 150 years. Jewish cartographers in Portugal seiled with Bartolomeu Dias and Vasco da Gama in 1488 and 1497. Portugal's baptised Jews were still free until the Portuguese Inquisition in 1536. In 1652, the Dutch (and their religious tolerance) began the first permanent European settlement of South Africa under Jan van Riebeeck as a representative of the Dutch East India Company. Few Jews arrived at Cape Town before the 1820s. The first congregation in South Africa, the Gardens Shul, was founded in Cape Town in November 1841. History. see History. Litvak-South Africans. [August 2009]

Jewish Family History Society of Cape Town: Paul Cheifitz, President
P. O. Box 51985, Waterfront, 8002, SOUTH AFRICA
Telephone: 21-4344825, 21-4230223
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Newsletter: Journal of the Jewish Family History Society of Cape Town
Courtesy of This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [June 2000]:

Jews settled in many South African and smaller African countries between 1880 and 1930. Some of these communities have dwindled in numbers or even vanished. Information for most of these places is sparse. An African Jewish Congress has been established. The spiritual leader travels extensively to visit remaining Jews and to photograph cemeteries (over 14,000 tombstones recorded to date), old synagogues and look after areas of Jewish importance. Most of the data for South African cities, unless otherwise indicated, was compiled by the Spiritual Leader to the South African Jewish Communities. The abbreviations used are as follows:

  • CP=Pictures taken of every grave in these cemeteries.
  • Inter=Jewish burials mixed in among non-Jews.
  • He also noted that major cities and some adjacent towns are not included in this list.
  • For details of these cemeteries contact the Chevra Kadisha (burial society) in the relevant city. Data as of 12/17/1996.

list of functioning and defunct synagogues on the Southern Africa Jewish Genealogy website. Source: Roger Harris This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [March 2001]

Mormon Family History Library Materials for South Africa: Note: Consult the FHL catalog to find the precise film numbers for a particular year and location. The date of death needs to be known fairly accurately in order to be able to find a particular certificate. Searching before and after the date of death needs to be performed in the records, since some certificates have been filmed out of order.

  • National coverage: 1955 - 1965 - Film numbers in range: 1925527 through 192612- (not all film numbers are used)
  • Cape Province: 1895 - 1928 (not all film numbers are used)
  • Film numbers in range:
  • 1768645 through 1768970
  • 1887008 through 1887235
  • 1925589 through 1926175
  • Transvaal: 1888 - 1954 (not all film numbers are used)
  • Film numbers in range:
  • 1887020 through 1887233
  • 1925519 through 1925810
  • 1768631 through 1768968
  • Burial, Marriage, and Death Information for Cape Town Interment registers for several Cape Town cemeteries:
  • 1886-1981 Indexes are included.
  • Film numbers: 1258779, 1259122 through 1259150
  • Marriage and Death Certificates Cape Town Jewish Cong.1851 - 1989:
  • Film numbers: 1560759 through 1560764, 1560773 through 1560775
  • Jewish Helping Hand and Burial Society (Chevra Kadisha), Johannesburg.
  • Film number: 1259151


Title Filter     Display # 
# Burial Location
1 -- List of South African Towns with Jewish Cemeteries --
2 -- Military Burials (Commonwealth) --
3 BENONI - Gauteng Prov.:
4 Bethlehem:
5 BLOEMFONTEIN - Free State Prov.:
6 CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Prov.:
7 DORDRECHT - Eastern Cape Prov.:
8 DURBAN - KwaZulu-Natal Prov.:
10 GRAHAMSTOWN - Eastern Cape Prov.:
12 JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Prov.:
13 KIMBERLEY: North Cape
14 LADY SMITH - KwaZulu-Natal Prov.:
16 MOKOPANE (formerly Potgietersrus) - Limpopo Prov:
17 Oudshoorn
18 PIETERMARITZBURG - KwaZulu-Natal Prov.:
19 PILGRIM'S REST - Mpumalanga Prov.:
20 POLOKWANE: [Pietersburg]
21 PORT ELIZABETH - Eastern Cape Prov.:
22 POTGIETERSRUS - see Mokopane
23 PRETORIA - Gauteng Prov.:
24 RUSTENBURG - North West Prov.:
25 SPRINGS - Gauteng Prov.:
26 STANDERTON - Mpumalanga Prov.:
27 STELLENBOSCH - Western Cape Prov.:
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