Zwarenstein Boer War Collection

Zwarenstein Boer War Collection

The Zwarenstein Boer War Prisoner Collection, donated by Anthony Pamm, brings together a variety of photographs, a certificate, and wedding memorabilia concerning the Dutch Zwarenstein family around the 1900s. Important to note is the presence of one of the family members – a Dutch Jew – who fought for the Boer forces.

A diploma, signed by Captain J H Van Zvylen and B P Landa, depicts Boer soldiers armed with rifles on horseback, all hand-coloured. The flags and coat of arms of the Transvaal are present, and a sideview of Boer soldiers’ heads and shoulders run across the bottom of the item. Also found within the collection is a second, smaller, framed certificate with “Tot nut en Vermaak St Helena” (“for the benefit and entertainment, St Helena”- St Helena being a famous island upon which Boer prisoners of war were kept) inscribed.

Nine small family photos, produced by several different photography developers around the Netherlands, are present within the collection, with only a few bearing the names of the subject. “Manus”, “Bertha” and “Hester” have been identified, while the rest of the family members remain anonymous. Also included are two more photographs, one with “Abraham?” written on the back, the other unnamed but originating from San Francisco Art Studio in Johannseburg.

A small wedding menu card, accompanied by photographs of the bride and groom (one together, two separate portraits) from the wedding of Betsy Haas and Solomon Creveld round up the collection.



  1. I study Boer War postal history and have an envelope from S. Zwarenstein, Zuid-Beijerland, Holland addressed to Abr(aham?) Zwarenstein, Cambridge Street, East London. The envelope has an East London censor mark dated 18th January, 1902 and also a rubber stamp applied by the Assistant Provost Marshal which is very unusual. I cannot find any record of an Abraham Zwarenstein in East London. He is probably related to three brothers, Joseph, Simon and Jacob Zwarenstein, who were captured by the British and sent to POW camps. Do you have any records of an Abraham Zwarenstein?

    • My Grandfather committed suicide when my father Joe who was 13yrs old. He had been imprisoned in south Africa.. with, I believe other Dutch Jews who came out as volunteers to fight on the side of the Boers. He was apparently the Chess champion when improsoned on Robin Island,(I believe it was). I believe his name was Simon. I have never seen a picture of him… is this him on this site?

  2. I found the sisters Hester and Bertha (married to (Her)manus) from Zuid-Beijerland. Sisters to Abraham and Simon. On my website I have a database. Email me for the password.

Submit a Comment