2015 marks the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz, and other Nazi death camps.  On Thursday, 16 April, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies will once again be holding its annual Day of Remembrance Ceremony in memory of the Six Million Jewish Martyrs who perished at the hands of the Nazis during World War 11. The ceremony will take place at the Martyrs’ Monument in the Jewish Section of West Park Cemetery at 12:30. 

Our guest speaker this year is Hugo Marom, now 86, who was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia. He and his brother Ruby were amongst the Jewish children saved by Sir Nicolas Winton. He was transported on the Kindertransport to London. His parents died in a concentration camp. In 1944 Hugo joined the RAF to become a fighter pilot and was then sent back to Prague with his brother to join the Czech Air Force. In 1953 he was asked to form the 110th night fighter squadrons and six years later led the development of Israel Aircraft Industries. In 1964 he left the army and founded a company for the construction and design of airports, which leads to the present day. In 2011, Marom received the Gratias Agit award for promoting the Czech Republic’s good name abroad. Hugo married Martha, a survivor of 6 concentration camps and had a daughter.

Included in this ceremony, Marsha Schaimberg, a Polish survivor from Auschwitz, living in South Africa will also be relating, her story and of her return to Auschwitz to take part in the 70th anniversary commemorative ceremony on 27 January this year,

Ceremonies will take place throughout the country, including Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and the Free State.



2015 Marks the seventieth anniversary of both the end of World War II and the liberation of the remaining Nazi death camps in Europe. Accordingly, Jewish Affairs will feature various perspectives on these themes in the three issues this year.

The first 2015, Pesach, issue has now appeared and been uploaded onto this site. It includes Ann Harris’ report on her participating in a special commemorative ceremony held at Auschwitz on 27 January this year, marking to the day seventy years since the camp’s liberation by the Red Army. How a leading South African Jewish artist interprets the Holocaust legacy is a prominent theme in Ute Ben Yosef’s appraisal of the work of Abigail Sarah Bagraim.  A different perspective of the impact of Nazism in the arts field is provided by Gwynne Schrire, who writes on the persecution of German Jewish artists in the years leading up to the war and the connections some of them have with South Africa.

The eminent Jewish historian Dr Gabriel Sivan, a long-serving member of the JA editorial board, contributes a substantial monograph on the intriguing figure of Joachim Gans, believed to be the first practising Jew to live for a time in North America. His story is tied up with such famous events and personalities as Sir Walter Raleigh, Francis Bacon and the defeat of the Spanish Armada, as well as the first British settlement in the United States. Articles with a South Africa focus comprise Veronica Belling’s account of writing the recent history of Cape Town’s Oranjia Jewish orphanage, David Sher’s tribute to the extraordinary philanthropist and Jewish communal leader, Samuel Sher, and a short story by Zita Nurok invoking how Jewish families and their black servants related to one another during the apartheid era. Finally, Maurice Skikne reflects on themes of mysticism and sexuality in the writings of I B Singer.

Book reviews look at an important new book on Reform Judaism in the US (by Bev May), a history of the Jews of South West Africa Namibia (Naomi Musiker), an important new Holocaust memoir (Marcia Leveson) and the autobiography of eminent local Judge Edwin Cameron (Ralph Zulman). New poetry and a reader’s letter complete the issue.

Wishing all our readers a Chag Pesach Kasher v’Sameach.

To view the Jewish Affairs, click on this link:  Jewish Affairs – Pesach 2015.


On Saturday night at The Zone, Rosebank, three Jewish teenagers were physically assaulted and verbally abused by three Indian South African men.  The teenagers were clearly identified as Jewish, wearing Kippot (traditional Jewish head coverings).  While one of the students was being hit, another assailant swore at him saying:   “You F***ing Jew” and “your f***ing people are killing our innocent children”.  Charges against the perpetrators have been laid at the Rosebank police station.  The Zone has supplied the footage and we will be working with the authorities to ensure that the men be brought to justice.

The SA Jewish community hopes that this incident was an isolated one.  Unlike many other parts of the world, Jews in South Africa have always been able to freely identify as such in public spaces without fear of being victimised.  We are determined to do everything that we can, to ensure that this continues.

We therefore call on South Africans, Jewish or not, to attend a film-screening at a cinema of your choice this Saturday night (28 March), wearing a Kippa or hat.  In this way we will demonstrate our commitment to fight against any form of prejudice and intimidation.  As proud South African citizens our freedom of movement, religion and association are guaranteed by our Constitution. #KippasAgainstHate.



An Open Letter to Mayor Tau

20 March 2015

Dear Mayor Tau I write to you in the format of an open letter due to the fact that your Chief of Staff told us that he was refusing to share with you the previous letter we sent 3 March 2015. We note that you will be hosting a `Palestine Solidarity Week’ this week and […]

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Human Rights Day Message: Hate Crimes Threaten Everyone

19 March 2015

The Hate Crimes Working Group (members listed below) and Peace Action, are concerned about the growing climate of violence in South Africa. The frequent and vicious outbreaks of xenophobic violence, violence against women and violence against the LGBTQI community, to name a few, are threatening the security of all who live in South Africa. The […]

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SAJBD mourns the tragic & untimely death of Collins Chabane

15 March 2015

The SAJBD joins with the rest of South Africa in mourning the tragic and untimely death of one of our great young leaders. Minister Collins Chabane was always warm and engaging in his interaction with SA Jewry, which in turn was reflective of his commitment to ensuring the peaceful co-existence of all South Africans. The […]

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Video reveals hatred, lack of control at BDS rally

11 March 2015

The SAJBD has repeatedly expressed concern that the BDS, by importing the Middle East conflict into South Africa, is creating a climate that encourages anti-Semitism while shutting down any possible and rational debate on Israeli – Palestinian issues. The BDS demonstration held on Sunday, 8 March 2015, shows exactly how the dynamics of intimidation are at play. […]

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Antisemitism on display at BDS Rally

8 March 2015

Protesters outside a SA Zionist Federation conference in Sandton today, yelled:  “You think this is Israel, we are going to kill you”.  From the outset, it was clear that the aim of the demonstration, in the protestors own words, was to “shut down Sandton” and ensure “no Zionist conference be held on our soil”. When […]

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More Bullying by BDS against Jewish community

8 March 2015

In a flagrant disregard of the Constitutionally-protected right of all South Africans to freedom of belief, opinion and association, the BDS movement SA continues to threaten and disrupt the efforts of those who disagree with its radical anti-Israel and antisemitic agenda. The bullying intimidation and shameless trampling of fundamental democratic values by BDS was shown […]

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