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Southern Africa Jewish Genealogy SA-SIG

South African Jewish Communities

The Strand


Editor: Dr Saul Issroff
Copyright © 2001-2003 Saul Issroff, Mike Getz, SAfrica SIG
and Jewishgen Inc.
Updated: 1 September 2005


The Strand

Written by Beryl Baleson (Juter)
whose grandparents Bernard and Leah Juter settled in The Strand in 1921
after their arrival from Pompian, Lithuania, to South Africa.

The Strand, which was originally known as Mosterd's Bay; Hottentots Holland Strand and then Somerset West Strand, nestles at the bottom of the Hottentots Holland Mountains in the Boland, Western Cape, about 30 miles northeast of Cape Town. The first settler in the Hottentots Holland Strand area was a Huguenot, named David du Buisson, who farmed in the area, on a farm named Vloobaai. There was an abundance of fish in this area, with the result that it became a fishing village at the end of the 17th century. The attraction of settlers to this area was the establishment of the de Beers Dynamite Factory in 1902, together with the prolific sea harvest all year round. This lead to the development of The Strand as a town as well as a seaside resort. It became a municipality in 1897. The earliest Jewish settlers who arrived from Lithuania and Latvia were ...

  1. Harris Brodovsky arrived 1899 from Kovno.
  2. Morris Cheller arrived 1902 from Kamay, Lithuania.
  3. Joel Dorfan arrived 1897 from Kovno.
  4. Benjamin Friedman arrived from Lithuania in 1903.
  5. Max Meller arrived 1902 from Kovno.
  6. Meyer Millchian arrived 1902 from Vilna.
  7. Myer Miller arrived 1899 from Malatt, Lithuania.
  8. N. Nochemowitz date and place of arrival unknown.
  9. Abe Schulman arrived 1902 from Dvinsk.

1949. The author's grandparents Barnett and Leah Juter with their son Reuben Juter, standing.
Click on the image to display a larger version
By comparison with other European groups of the Strand community, the Jewish community have been more attached to The Strand than any others, and names like Friedman, Rossenstein, Cohen, Ginsberg, Portnoi and Jacobson are landmarks in The Strand's development for more than half a century. Jewish enterprise has done much to make The Strand one of the best shopping centres in the Boland.

At the beginning of the century i.e. 1903 their "Shul" was in Michau Street, just behind the Marine Hotel. Rent of 7s.6d. was paid monthly.
A permanent Shul opened in 1930 in Wesley Street and the foundation stone laid by Mr. Ben Friedman. The Shul in Wesley Street, was sold in 1986 to the Ebed Gemeente as a Church and later re-sold. Although the inside has changed, the facade has remained. One Sefer Torah was sent to the Beit Shemesh Shul, Beit Shemesh, Israel. The 5 Jewish families who reside to-day in the Strand attend services at the Somerset West Shul.
The first Rabbi was Rev. I. Green, followed by Rev. Hirshowitz. There were 40 families and subscription was 1 Shilling per month. Rev. Bordien followed as leader of the community between 1932-42 and he was succeeded by Rev. Gad and Rabbi Karwan in 1953.
There was a cheder, run in the Shul premises. The Strand Zionist Society combined with Somerest West, was established in 1906.
The first Young Israel summer camp was held at the Strand in 1925/6 but the actual Young Israel Society in the town is not mentioned until 1934. There were also the following Jewish societies:

  1. Revisionist Society.
  2. Wizo.
  3. Ladies Benevolent Society.
  4. Union of Jewish Woman.

The beaches in the Strand attracted a great deal of Jewish people from all over the Western Cape area in the summer, including the annual Young Israel Camp. However with the rise of the "Greyshirt" movement and anti-semitism becoming rife, the Jewish people of the Western Cape, started using Muizenberg as the summer holiday resort. The Young Israel Camp also moved its headquarters to Lakeside in the Muizenberg area.

The Jewish families settled there since 1899 were as follows:

During 1995 the following Jewish families were still in the Strand:
Mr. & Mrs. B. BucheltzMr. & Mrs. I. Nocky
Mr. & Mrs. S.B. CohenMiss E. Portnoi
Mr. & Mrs. C. CottonMrs. S. Sweiden
Mr. & Mrs. A. FriedmanMrs. Werb
Mr. & Mrs. D. NeppeMr & Mrs. Wisenberg

By 1999 the Jewish Community dwindled to 5 families. The original amount of 40 families had either passed away or moved to Cape Town, as well as following their children who moved to Israel, Australia and the United States.

The remaining members of the Jewish community have now combined with the Somerset West Jewish Community and are known as The Strand-Somerset Jewish Community.

In June 2003, David Jacobson wrote ...
" While doing some research into my family genealogy I came across the subject webpage viz: The Strand.
I wish to provide some information about my paternal grandfather Rachmiel Jacobson (naturalised in South Africa as Jacobshon) born between 1878 and 1881, who as far as I know came from Poniedel in Lithuania and migrated to and settled in South Africa in 1902.
He applied for and was granted naturalisation (No. C.B. 3130) on 7 March 1907. He was a General Dealer resident at Somerset Strand (as The Strand was then known) and had been a resident in the Colony (i.e. The Cape of Good Hope) for five years. He died in the flu epidemic in 1918.
As an aside, I have his (green covered) "passport book" issued to him on 8 April 1901 to "allow him to reside in a place where Jews were permitted to live." The place of issue was: Ponedils, Mischansk Upravoya, Novoalexandro Gubernia.
I was born in 1946 in Somerset West, a town just adjacent to and lived in The Strand till 1970. As far as I know my father Philip Jacobson was born there in 1913 and lived there till 1970. He was the Gabba of The Strand Hebrew Congregation for a number of years during the period when Reverend A. H. Karwan was the minister.
The names of some other Jewish families that lived in The Strand that are not mentioned on the list of residents of The Strand are: Miller, Buch, Braude, Sifrin, Bagel and Want."

On 26 June 2001, Prof. Aubrey Newman,, wrote:

Some applications for naturalisation and residence in the Strand are as follows:

Ephraim Epstein, (126) application dated 10 May 1904 from Kovna, aged 28, tailor, resident for 3 years

Morris Balonow, (212) 10 May 1904, from Druja, Wilna, Minister of Religion, resident for 5 years

Meyer Millchian, (224) 30 Mar 1905, from Vilna, a cycle repairer, aged 25, resident in the colony for 2 years

Morris (?Geller), (225) 30 Mar 1905, from Kaunas, aged 31, general dealer, resident for 2 years

Abe Shulman, (226) 30 Mar 1905, from Dwinsk, aged 25, boot maker, resident for 2 years

Nathan Nochomowitch, (956) 8th June 1904, born in Kovna, tailor, resident at Strand and in the colony for 3 years, aged 24.

Max Meller, (957) from Kovno, 8 June 1904, aged 28, shopkeeper, in the colony for 2 years 6 months

Harris Brodovky, (958) 10 June 1904, born in Kovno, aged ____, horse dealer, in the colony for 5 years




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