Press Release – Jewish Anglo-Boer War Memorial for Emnambithi/Ladysmith

by The SAJBD on 31 July 2012

in Press Releases

The Ladysmith Siege Museum Trust and South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) are pleased to announce the unveiling of the Jewish Anglo-Boer War Memorial, commemorating those of the Jewish faith who died in the service of the Boer Republics. The ceremony will take place at the Burgher Memorial, Platrand, on Monday 6 August 2012 at 12:00.

An estimated 300 Jews served in the Boer Commandos during the war. Of these, at least eight were killed in action and four died in captivity. The first Jew to die in action on the Boer side was Harry Spanier of the Pretoria Commando. He was killed at Surprise Hill, Ladysmith, on 11 December 1899. A plaque in memory of Spanier was amongst those memorials unveiled at the 110th commemoration of the Surprise Hill action on 11 December 2009. On that occasion, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies also partnered with the Ladysmith Siege Museum Trust.

Aerial image of the Burgher Memorial

In other engagements relating to the Siege and Relief of Ladysmith, Jacob Schorr of the Boksburg Commando fell at Colenso and Leo de Wolff of the Johannesburg Commando at Vaalkrans. It is likely that R Sonnenberg, killed at Wagon Hill, was also Jewish, but since this remains unconfirmed, his name was omitted. Other Jews in the Boer forces who died in the Natal theatre during the war were F Goldman at Holkrans and E Cohen in the Mooi River POW camp.

Shortly after the Anglo-Boer War, a memorial to Jewish soldiers who died whilst serving on the British side was erected in the great Kimberley Synagogue. Until now, however, there has been no similar memorial to those who died whilst fighting for the Boer cause and this prompted the Ladysmith Siege Museum Trust to start a process to rectify this.

The Burgher Memorial on Platrand evokes strong emotions and is a place of great sanctity, the tomb of many brave men who died for their country and is a tribute to their heroism. The ossuary also includes the mortal remains of two or more fallen Boerejode. This site was a logical choice for the erection of the new memorial.

The new memorial, with a commemorative plaque in Afrikaans, English and Hebrew bearing the names of the fallen, will be erected close to the main Burgher Memorial on Platrand. The unveiling ceremony will be attended by the Emnambithi/Ladysmith Mayor and dignitaries of the South African Jewish community. Wreaths will be laid and memorial prayers for the fallen by Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft and Chaplain Pillay of 5 SAI will be offered. A short address will be delivered by SAJBD National President Mary Kluk. Associate director David Saks, author of the book Boerejode: Jews in the Boer Armed Forces 1899-1902 (2010) will also be amongst those speaking at the post-ceremony luncheon at Platrand Lodge, during which copies of the rare publication will be on sale.

All members of the public are welcome to attend the solemn ceremony and talks. Kindly sms your intention to attend to Lera Campher on 082 801 6524 by latest Saturday 4 August 2012 so that adequate seating arrangements can be made.

For more information please contact David Saks on 072 2944 056 or

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) is the central representative institution of the South African Jewish community.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment