Humansdorp (Eastern Cape)


Humansdorp is situated in the Eastern Cape, 93km west of Port Elizabeth and 14km from Jeffrey’s Bay. It was laid out on the farm Rheeboksfontein and was named after the owner of the farm, Matthys Gerhardus Human.

Humansdorp was administered by the church, then by a village council in 1896 and it attained municipal status in 1900.
There was a Jewish presence in the town by 1899. Several Jews were attracted by the ostrich feather industry. The Humansdorp Hebrew Congregation was established in 1901 and services were held at the residence of Charles Simmons and led by Isaac Robinson, the Hebrew teacher.

There is a Jewish cemetery, but there is no record of any Jewish societies. The hotels and cinema had Jewish proprietors in the early days.

The congregation began to dwindle with the slump in the ostrich feather market in 1914. By 1948 there was no Hebrew congregation in Humansdorp.

In 1904 there were 47 Jewish residents; 40 in 1936 and 25 in 1951. The number of Jewish inhabitants dropped to eight in 1980. In 1991, only 11 Jews were living in the town.