Machadadorp (Mpumalanga)


Machadadorp is situated in Mpumalanga (eastern Transvaal- pre 1994), and lies between the towns of Pretoria, Nelspruit and Belfast. Laid out on the farm Geluk (happiness) the town was proclaimed in 1904. It was named after Joachim Jose Machado, a Portuguese engineer who later became governor-general of Mozambique.

Before the railway line was built, the village was an important staging post for transport drivers. After the fall of Pretoria in the Anglo-Boer War, Machadadorp became the temporary seat of the Transvaal government. The district is a sheep and cattle ranching area and popular with trout anglers. It also boasts hot springs.

The first Jews were here by 1894, among them Emmanuel Kaufmann, an Austrian Jew, who took over the general dealer’s store of Messrs Mosenthal and Co, and Joseph Solomon Masur, who eventually acquired the store from Mr Kaufmann. In 1895, Max Masur joined his brother, Joseph. There were no Jewish communal facilities in the town, though contributions to various Zionist funds were collected from Jews from as early as 1909, 1915 and 1919.

The Jews of the town were mostly involved in general dealer stores, starting with the Mosenthals; however, it is not known whether any of the Mosenthal family actually lived here. Among the later Jewish residents were one doctor (in 1928), a butcher, a couple of hoteliers, a tailor, a farmer and a surveyor.

In 1939 there were reports of active anti-Semitism by school teachers, local Afrikaans storekeepers and the German owners of the Hydro Hotel.

There are census figures for Jews in the town; however, community records indicate 17 Jews in 1943 and 7 in 1953. In 1969 it was reported that no Jews lived in the town, but in 1974 one Jew lived there for some months of the year.