Meet the Jewish Community of


Welcome to the website of the

Jewish Community of Laingsburg

Laingsburg is in the semi-desert Great Karoo about 270 km (170 miles) northeast of Cape Town (on the N1 highway en route to Beaufort West). It was good for farming with goats and sheep and producing wool. The railway had reached there in 1878 and the town was laid out in 1881, and, with the economic opportunities this promised, some of the eastern European Jews who had started to arrive in Cape Town from the 1880s settled there.

The hot and arid Great Karoo was very different from Lithuania with its lakes, mud and snow, but nevertheless by 1900, a Laingsburg Hebrew Congregation was established with 25 members by brothers David and Jacob Adamstein. Three years later they had acquired land for a cemetery and opened a synagogue. By the 1950s, however, it was all but over.

You can read the timeline of the Jewish Community, who some of the settlers were and about their activities, their synagogue and cemetery and the catastrophic flood of 1981 on these pages.

This website, created in September 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.

You can answer the questions on the Contact page or get in touch with me directly at

Please join the CHOL interactive email list where you can post information and ask questions of like-minded people. To join, send an email to Leave the subject line BLANK and in the message say: SUBSCRIBE CHOL followed by your First name and your Last name only (please delete any automatic signatures).

Click here for a map.

Website of the Laingsburg Jewish Community
Created and hosted by CHOL – Community History On-Line

Acknowledging information from
Jewish Life in the South African Country Communities, Volume II,
researched by the South African Friends of Beth Hatefutsoth,
and an article written by Gwynne Robins for the Cape Jewish Chronicle.
Pictures taken or sourced by Steve Albert, Cape Town
Edited by Geraldine Auerbach MBE, London, UK
Formatted and uploaded by Bramie Lenhoff, Delaware, USA
September 2023