Tweespruit (Free State)

 

Tweespruit is a small village close to Bloemfontein in the former Orange Free State. There was no formal congregation and services were held in the synagogue of the nearby town of Thaba ‘Nchu. Some families travelled to the Bloemfontein synagogue.

At Pesach (Passover), services were held in private homes with Jews from towns of Westminister, Hobhouse, Tweespruit and Thaba ‘Nchu. Benjamin Malkinson would often officiate.

In the 1950s, Jews from Bloemfontein brought the children from Tweespruit to Bloemfontein every Sunday morning for cheder (Hebrew lessons).

J. B. Lurie, a young farmer from Lithuania, who started with a shop in the women’s concentration camp during the Anglo-Boer War, bought his first farm in the area in 1909. He became known as the “Potato King” – one of the biggest individual growers in the world.

Solomon Miller, a judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa was born in Tweespruit in 1916.

Community records for the mid-1950s indicate 52 Jews living in Tweespruit. By 1960 the numbers had declined to 20, with the figure staying at nine until about 1968. By 1980 there were only five Jews left. By 1996 there were no Jews left in the town.