Page 68 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 18

Basic HTML Version

J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
60
tributed three valuable studies,
Yidden in Dorem Afrike, Yidden
in Johannesburg
and
Oudtshoorn, Yerushalaim b’Dorem Afrike
.
There is a considerable body of didactic writing by South African
Jews—some in Yiddish and Hebrew, but most of it in English—
on Jewish cultural and religious themes. But that falls outside
the scope of this paper.
South African Jewish historiography in English numbers only
a few volumes. An important work is Louis Herrman’s
History
of the Jews in South Africa,
which is chiefly confined to the
early years of South African Jewry and to its development in
the last century. His subsequent work,
A Centenary History,
records the story of the Mother Congregation of South African
Jewry, the Cape Town Hebrew Congregation, from 1841 to 1941.
Chief Rabbi Professor Israel Abrahams ranged more widely into
the archives of Cape Jewry in his comprehensive and well-written
The Birth of a Community.
Alfred Stanley Bernstein traced the
history of a Witwatersrand Jewish community in his
Germiston
Jewry.
The writer of the present essay prepared a brief study,
South African Jewry: an Introductory Survey.
The most am-
bitious attempt to tell South African Jewry’s story is
The Jews
in South Africa,
edited by Gustav Saron and Louis Hotz. I t
contains papers by a number of writers, dealing with key aspects
of this story from its early beginnings to the present day. Marcia
Gitlin, in
The Vision Amazing,
wrote a history of Zionism in
South Africa. A formidable body of authoritative writing on the
South African Jewish past has been contributed to numerous
publications by S. A. Rochlin, Archivist to the South African
Jewish Board of Deputies. These articles merit collection in book
form.
Much valuable light is shed on the past in several autobio-
graphical works by South African Jews, among them Manfred
Nathan’s
No t Heaven Itself,
Richard Goldman’s
A South African
Remembers,
Morris Kentridge’s
I Recall,
Harry Morris’s
The
First Forty Years,
Max Sonnenburg’s
The Way I Saw It,
and
Mrs. Sophie Leviseur’s
Ouma Looks Back.
Enid Alexander has
contributed an informative biography of her husband, the late
Morris Alexander, who played a conspicuous role in South
African Jewry and in South African parliamentary life. Richard
Lewinson has written a colorful biography of Barney Barnato.
In the field of general South African biography and historio-
graphy, there is much work from Jewish pens. Mrs. Millin wrote
a notable biography of Field Marshall Smuts, to which reference
has already been made, and also an outstanding biography of
Rhodes. Another distinguished study of Rhodes is
Rhodes of
Africa,
by Felix Gross. Back in 1917 Nathan Levi wrote the first
biography of Smuts. Manfred Nathan penned the definitive
biography of Paul Kruger, the last president of the old South
African Republic—a work which combines objectivity and sym-