Last night, Holocaus Survivor, Irene Klaas shared her memories with Masechaba Ndlovu on Power FM.

Listen to the podcast here.


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Wendy Kahn writes for The Star and Pretoria News.

Read the full article here.


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We are pleased to announce that the Chanukah 2015 issue of Jewish Affairs has appeared.

The Jewish Lithuanian legacy comprises a substantial part of this issue. Amidst the inevitable reflections on a community that did not die a natural death but was deliberately destroyed, in part with the connivance of the local population, it is encouraging to feature an example of modern-day Lithuania formally recognising one of its Jewish citizens who achieved renown after emigrating. This is related by Kathy Munroe in her article ‘Herman Kallenbach: Lithuania Remembers a Forgotten Son’, on the life of a pioneering Johannesburg architect and human rights activist who played a significant part in the early career of M K Gandhi. Memories of the Lithuanian shtetlach, as well as efforts currently underway to educate and commemorate their legacy, are dealt with by Veronica Belling in ‘There was Once a Home….” – Memories of the Lithuanian shtetls in the Afrikaner Idishe Tsaytung, 1952-4’ and In ‘Remembering Birzh’ by Bennie Rabinowitz, Gwynne Schrire and Veronica Belling. A reprinted chapter from the memoirs of the late Alec Natas is a droll recounting of a Chanukah episode from his Lithuanian childhood, while a recently discovered letter from a Holocaust survivor in Kovno unsparing records the complicity of non-Jewish Lithuanians in assisting the Germans in the murder of their Jewish neighbours (as well as the looting of their property).

The most comprehensive account of the landmark ‘Greyshirts’ libel trial, held in Grahamstown in 1934, appears in Hadassa Ben-Itto’s acclaimed book The Lie That Wouldn’t Die: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (2005). In this issue, with Judge Ben-Itto’s kind permission, we publish the first of a three-part feature reprinting the relevant chapter recounting how the SAJBD assisted Port Elizabeth’s Reverend Abraham Levy in bringing a criminal libel charge against local pro-Nazi activists who had falsely accused him of authoring a document whose contents were based on the antisemitic conspiracy theories of The Protocols.

David A Sher, who has previously written on aspects of Jewish religious and communal life in SA, focuses on the life of the eminent 19th Century religious leader Nathan Marcus Adler, Chief Rabbi of the British Empire. To mark the centenary of the famous Gallipoli Campaign in World War I, an operation that involved and impacted on the Jewish people in significant ways, there is Gwynne Schrire’s ‘Dardanelles, Dried Flowers and a Dried Leaf: Who was J Rabinowitz Drechsler?’ In the contemporary SA Jewish art field, Ute Ben Yosef again brings to bear her insight and expertise in ‘Keeper of the Hearth: The Art of Gwen van Embden’.

Eugenie Freed’s short story ‘Honey Cake’ is set in pre-war Cape Town. It movingly describes the parallel struggles of a child seeking to break through the veil of secrecy imposed by her family to learn more about her origins and of a young Lithuanian-Jewish woman to overcome the challenges of a loveless marriage and difficulties of adapting to a still foreign land to forge her own destiny.

Original poetry is contributed by Charlotte Cohen, Mo Skikne and Gabriella Hyman.

Wishing all our readers a safe and restful end of year break and everything of the best for 2016.

View the full issue here :…/Jewish-Affairs-Chanukah-2015.pdf

David Saks



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Jewish Affairs | Pesach 2016

by SAJBD on 25 April 2016

in General

Dear Subscriber

Amidst the many hot-button issues confronting South Africa today is the need to confront anew the prevalence of racism and related intolerance within significant sectors of the population.  The problem has been exacerbated by the ease with which racist insults, slurs and incitement to hatred and even violence can now be disseminated, thanks to the Social Media and other online platforms.  2016 commenced with a bitterly acrimonious and prolonged controversy of certain racially offensive comments published by individuals on their private Facebook accounts, and currently a series of far-reaching government initiatives, including new or tightened up legislation, are underway to address the problem.

All this lends an additional dimension of relevance to the latest, Pesach 2016, issue of Jewish Affairs.  The dominating theme of this issue is antisemitism in pre-war and wartime South Africa, with a complementary examination (by veteran JA contributor and editorial board member Dr Gabriel Sivan) of what was taking place in that regard in the United Kingdom during the same period. Review essays of Milton Shain’s acclaimed new study A Perfect Storm: Antisemitism in South Africa, 1930-1948, by Tony Leon and the Editor respectively, show how the book’s themes and subject matter elucidate not only  an important, and troubling, period of the South African past, but have considerable bearing on some of the key problems and dilemmas confronting eh country in our own times. The second part of Hadassa Ben-Itto’s chapter on the Greyshirt Libel Trial of 1934, while dealing with the events it recounts solely in historical terms, nevertheless also has obvious resonance with our own times, where antisemitic conspiracy theories , thanks to electronic communications, are as ubiquitous as ever.


in their respective reviews of  Jan Smuts: Unafraid of Greatness and Rodney Mazinter’s new historical novel By a Mighty Hand, Ralph Zulman and David Scher cover much of the same ground as the above articles and provide additional insights into the subjects they cover.

Elsewhere, David Sher’s ‘Synagogal Weddings from a Halachic Standpoint’ (which inspired this issue’s front-cover image) delves into the question of whether weddings should, as a matter of law (or, at least, as a preference) be held in the open or whether the wide-spread practice of holding them in synagogues is acceptable. As indicated by the title, Cecil Bloom’s ‘Where are the women Yiddish writers?’

Examines the relative paucity of fictional writing by Jewish women in that language. Gwynne Schrire’s ‘Cape Town woman nominates Righteous Gentiles’ tells of the wartime experiences of Cape Town’s Lina Kantor (nee Amato) and her successful efforts in later life to have those non-Jews who  helped her survive the Holocaust when she was still a girl living on Rhodos officially honoured by Yad Vashem.

Naomi Musiker’s obituary for her late husband, Reuben Musiker, identifies some of the achievements of this esteemed and much loved scholar, author and academic. Original poetry is contributed by Abigail Bagraim, Charlotte Cohen and Mo Skikne.


On behalf of the Jewish Affairs editorial board, I wish everyone a Chag Pesach Kasher v’Sameach.

David Saks


View the Jewish Affairs Pesach 2016 edition here.


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20 April 2016

MINISTER DAVIES PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE LATE BERTIE LUBNER The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies has paid tribute to the late Bertie Lubner.  Minister Davies says he learned of the death of Bertie Lubner today, with great sadness. “Bertie played a significant role in the industrialization of this country through the companies […]

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The Field Band Foundation Salutes Bertie Lubner

19 April 2016

  It is with profound sadness that the Field Band Foundation marks the death earlier today of its co-founder and Honorary Life President, Mr. Bertie Lubner. From our very beginnings in 1997, Bertie has been an active and involved supporter of the Foundation’s outreach to more than 40 000 children of disadvantage across South Africa. […]

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SAJBD Mourns the Passing of Bertie Lubner: 11 March 1931 – 18 April 2016

18 April 2016

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies extends its condolences to the family and friends of Bertie Lubner who sadly passed away this morning. Bertie was an extraordinary man, contributing to many worthy causes. His vision and leadership were responsible for the creation and development of some of South Africa’s leading NGO’s including Afrika Tikkun, […]

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Violence, Intimidation & Hate-Speech at Wits Unacceptable

5 April 2016

Reports of violence, intimidation, and hate-speech directed against Lesbians, Jews and Whites during the protests at Wits University yesterday are distressing.  While the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) is sensitive to the myriad of serious issues facing students in this country, it is never acceptable to target minority groups and inflame hatred.  According […]

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The SAJBD condemns the horrendous terrorist atrocities that took place in Brussels today.

22 March 2016

The SAJBD condemns the horrendous terrorist atrocities that took place in Brussels today. We express our sincerest condolences to the people of Belgium and particularly the families of the victims. We join with the international community in expressing our commitment to eradicating the scourge of terrorism wherever it surfaces.

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The SAJBD joined the Hellenic, Italian and Portuguese commemorating Human Rights Day in Sharpeville.

22 March 2016

The SAJBD joined the Hellenic, Italian and Portuguese commemorating Human Rights Day in Sharpeville. The event remembered the horrific loss of life in Sharpeville, but also focused on the important anti-racism campaign. Witnesses shared their harrowing tales of the 21st of March 1960. SAJBD Chairman Shaun Zagnoev delivered a message on behalf of our community. […]

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