On this page we post responses to our postings, news items or requests from viewers.
September 2023: Beverly Datnow writes:
I love the work and effort you devote to this project. Regarding Laingsburg, in the early 2000s we purchased a farm 50 km east of Laingsburg. We have learned very little of the history of the inhabitants of Laingsburg or the surrounding areas. However, we do know that this farm (now called Hartland) was at one time called Stelladale after the daughter of the owner who was a Jewish attorney. There are gravestones on the farm that I have photographed. Perhaps someone can throw more light on their history.
(Read Beverly’s story and the story of the farming Datnow family on the Kimberley website at Datnow Family)
The farm Hartland near Laingsburg and the grave of Adolf Ettmann, beloved father of Ralph and Stella
September 2023: Natie Finkelstein writes:
I have noted your appeal concerning the history of the Jewish community of Laingsburg. Although this Karoo town is situated some 200 km from my own hometown of Beaufort West, I do recall some of the Jewish names associated with the town. A fellow pharmacist, Boris Friedland, is married to a Laingsburg resident whose maiden name was Segal (I am not sure if it was spelt with a double "ll").
Another good friend and esteemed anaesthesiologist, Professor Peter Gordon is married to a Laingsburg resident. Louise is also medically qualified and, as I am, she is also an ardent volunteer at Kirstenbosch, our world famous National Botanic Garden. Peter and Louise visit Laingsburg from time to time, as I think Louise still has a brother living in the town. On one such visit, Peter took some excellent photographs of the Laingsburg Jewish cemetery that is in immaculate condition when compared to the equivalent in my hometown. He is aware of my interest in rural Jewish history in the Cape and sent them to me a few years ago. Some of the gravestones show some damage, but one records how a relatively young Alfred Goodman died in the great flood that literally wiped out the town in 1981 (see photograph). One of the surnames (Adamstein) is among the headstones mentioned in your note. The cemetery is perfectly walled and even the gate is intact and proudly displays a Magen David incorporated in the design. I feel sure Peter would not mind me sending these photographs on provided his photographic effort is duly acknowledged in your website. I am copying Peter with this note in the hope that Louise may recall some of the Jewish folk known to her during her sojourn in the town and may be tempted to share her experiences.
To which David Bass replied:
It just so happens, I also volunteer at Kirstenbosch and will see Louise this morning. I also worked with Peter Gordon at Groote Schuur some years back. We'll have lots to chat about while we re-pot cuttings or whatever work they set out for us.