Port Alfred (Eastern Cape)


Port Alfred, a fishing village and seaside resort, 69km from Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, was established in 1825. Situated at the mouth of the Kowie River, it is the principal town of the Bathurst district.

Although Jews were involved in early attempts to develop a harbour at the Kowie River mouth around 1841, there are no records of any Jews living in the district until 1914. Among the residents at this time were Messrs J Kaplan, Abraham Kaplan, M and N Levenson and Samuel Meyer. Harry Gluckman came to Port Alfred in 1918 and claimed to have been the only Jew there at the time.

There were never sufficient Jews to establish any communal institutions and the Jews of Port Alfred were associated with the Grahamstown Hebrew Congregation. Many Jews were involved in the economic life of Port Alfred although few lived in the town. Those who did were mainly hoteliers and general dealers. In 1914 Abraham Kaplan practiced as an attorney here.

L Liebowitz was mayor of the town before 1948, and Louis Gluckman in the 1960s.

According to community records, the largest number of Jews in the district was 28 in 1943. By 1953 there were 18 Jews and by 1963 there were only two families left.