Moorreesburg (Western Cape)


Moorreesburg is in the western Cape, between Malmesbury and Piketberg, approximately 100 km north of Cape Town. The town was founded on the farm Hooikraal in 1879 and became a municipality in 1909. There were already Jews living here by that time. Some of the early Jewish residents were S Zalkin (Chairman of the congregation), Messrs. Loon, Klitzman, Abramson, Levin, Fish, Pokroy, Stein and Saacks. A synagogue was built in 1917.

The town had a fair-sized Jewish community with many Jewish-owned stores. According to local sources, S I Epstein had a pharmacy, N J Levine owned a shop in Main Street, Mrs. Zolty had a ladies boutique and Lipke Levin was an accountant. Between 1933 and 1950, Joe Pasvol was one of the doctors of the town. Some of the local Afrikaans residents remember walking past the old shul on their way to school – the shul being brightly decorated for festivals such as Succoth.

Sammy and Bertha Katz owned the Royal Hotel since 1924, his brother Joe and wife Pearl owned the International Hotel. Their sister Tilly married Sam Epstein, the chemist. The Royal Hotel, now called the Samoa Hotel, is currently owned by Ivan Katz, together with the International Hotel, which is now an old aged home.” The Moorreesburg community reached its peak in 1926 with about 30 families. The shul was demolished around the late 1950’s – early 1960’s. It was no longer in use and had apparently become run-down and vandalized. The only Jewish family now left in the town is that of Ivan Katz.