Amersfoort (Mpumalanga)

Amersfoort is situated in the north of SA in the province of Mpumalanga (Transvaal – pre 1994), 56 km south of Ermelo and 72 km south east of Bethal. The town was founded in 1876.

The first Jew recorded in Amersfoort was Mr. Edward Treisman who arrived around 1890 and was later joined by his nephews Henry (in 1896) and Max (in 1900). Amersfoort never had a large Jewish population. The highest recorded figure is around 20 Jews. The congregation was established in 1917 and a synagogue built soon after. Prior to the establishment of the synagogue, services were held in a house.

Ministers’ tasks included that of performing shechita (ritual slaughter) and teaching the children. The congregation is said to have functioned up until 1942 when the last minister left Amersfoort. Four years later the synagogue was sold.

The Jews in Amersfoort were mainly traders, hoteliers, some farmers, a livestock speculator, a tailor and two chemists.

In 1929 there were 20 members of the community and in 1951 there were 16 Jews. In 1955 there were 21 and this dropped to nine in 1956. By 1996, only four Jews were living in the town.