Welcome to the website of the
Jewish Community of Caledon
Caledon, in the Western Cape province about 100 kilometres (62 miles) east of Cape Town, is famous for its seven springs — one cold, and six heated to 49.5 °C. As early as 1797 a bathhouse was built there, followed by a sick house and a sanatorium. First called Swartberg and a favourite with the Duch East India Company, the British government chose it as an administrative centre, creating a formal settlement in 1810, re-named Caledon in honour of the Earl of Caledon, Governor at the Cape from 1807 until 1811.
Jewish immigrants spreading out into the interior looking for economic opportunities must have been drawn to a village that was already hosting visitors. The first Jews settled there as early as 1870, even before the major migrations from Eastern Europe began in the early 1880s.
They owned and ran hotels and bed and breakfasts. They were grain, wool, feather, livestock and horse traders and farmers. They were also tailors and bookkeepers. In retail they were shopkeepers, outfitters, jewellers, and drapers. Like in many other small centres, they built a synagogue and taught their children. The peak was in the 1930s with over 200 Jews in the town and 40 families belonging to the synagogue.
This website, created in August 2023, is driven by Steve Albert (left). If you or your friends have connections to this town, please send your stories and photographs. Time is of the essence, as the number of people who can 'tell the story' is dwindling.
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Website of the Caledon Jewish Community
Created and hosted by CHOL – Community History On-Line
Acknowledging information from
Jewish Life in the South African Country Communities, Volume III,
researched by the South African Friends of Beth Hatefutsoth,
and an article written by Gwynne Robins for the Cape Jewish Chronicle.
Pictures taken and sourced by Steve Albert, Cape Town
Edited by Geraldine Auerbach MBE, London, UK
Formatted and uploaded by Bramie Lenhoff, Delaware, USA