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     Golden Jubilee 1895-1945

    Page 5

    Alfred Beit

    Of Alfred Beit and his munificent contributions to the Rhodesias we need only add that the name given to him as " the fairy godmother of Rhodesia" is a tribute richly deserved, for he perhaps more than anyone else helped Cecil Rhodes to make Rhodesia secure. To the many who today enjoy his bounties, be they educational, social or philanthropic, must come the thought that it was Alfred Beit who made so deep a

                                                     Alfred Beit, 1853-1906.

    mark upon his contemporaries and his name must inevitably be written large across this vast area of the Southern Hemisphere.

    Whilst reading with pride that long list of Jewish pioneers, we are conscious of that old dictum of Plato, "as it is the commendation of a good huntsman to find game in a wide wood, so it is no imputation if he hath not caught all." And so it is to those pioneers who had to  bear the brunt and heat of the day that we in all humility pay our
    deep debt of gratitude for the legacy which they left us—a legacy that the Rhodesia of the present shall yet hand on to the Rhodesia of the future, an inheritance and a message worthy of their dreams and
    endeavours.                                                  —--

    The Great War 1914-1918

    During this period the Jewish youth of Rhodesia played a full and significant part in the defence of their country. Many paid the supreme sacrifice and others were awarded decorations. The first soldier killed in the German West African Campaign was a Jew, Ben Rabinson. Out of a total Jewish population of 1,280 some 118 able-bodied men were
    on active service. Serving on the Executive of the British Empire Service League in Bulawayo and Salisbury are Jewish ex-Service men of the Great War who now figure so prominently in Jewish Communal affairs.

    World War II

    When the Empire is once again involved in this greatest struggle for Freedom and Righteousness we find how the Jewish Youth of Rhodesia to-day has so nobly demonstrated its loyalty to the country. In the official " call-up " group between the ages of 18'55, we have the high percentage of 39.8 per cent. of our Jewish male population and 10.9 per cent of our Jewish women on active service and taking their part in every theatre of the war.

    While this cannot be regarded as a mere compendium of statistical information, it nevertheless can present the fact that of the total number serving in the Rhodesian Army and Air Force, 4.8 per cent. are members of the Rhodesian Jewish Community, 20 have been decorated on the field of battle, while 31 appear on the casualty list, most of these having paid the supreme sacrifice. Among these are to be found the two Hon. Secretaries of our Congregation, Norman. Price and Basil Hyman.

    The new immigrants from the countries of persecution who had found protection and safety in the Colony soon placed their services at the disposal of the Defence authorities. It was not till September, 1940, that the special " Internment Camp Corps" was formed. All these able-bodied immigrants, particularly from Germany and Austria, volunteered for service. Eventually this Corps was incorporated in the Defence Department, but with one proviso—they were not eligible for combatant duty beyond the borders of the Colony. They have nevertheless rendered sterling service in this Corps and their efforts have been recognised as a worthy contribution by the Government.

    Members of our Community are also to be found in all the part'time units, the Voluntary Police Reserve and the Women JPolice section. Our Rhodesian Jewish Community have contributed liberally to all the War Appeals, viz;., the National War Fund, Air Raid Distress Funds, the Red Cross and a host of others, including the Victory Thanksgiving Fund. In Salisbury the special " Women's War Effort Committee " presented an ambulance to the Government, organised knitting circles, assisted the war fetes and dispatched comforts to the lads " up north." Individual contributions included an aeroplane and an ambulance, while a local firm undertook to provide all the army tunics for the Native Labour Corps.

    Progress of the Community

    We have now travelled far along the road of Jewish life in this Colony. The largest Congregation is in Bulawayo with some 1,500 'souls, followed by Salisbury and its districts with a Jewish population of



    (The first Hebrew School in Rhodest'a, established at Bulawayo in 1901. Centre: Rev.M. I. Cohen. M.B.E.. B.A.)


    some 1,250, while Gatooma, Gwelo and Que Que, the next organised Jewish centres, number about 250. Despite the absence of the spiritual guidance of a Minister, congregational life in these smaller places is  fairly active.

    The Jews of Southern Rhodesia are-conscious of the equal opportunities that exist to advance the social and economic life of the country, for while legislature is equitable the loyalty of the Rhodesian Rev. J. J. Rosin, J.P., Minister of the Congregation. 1918-1935.

    Jew is unquestionable. He therefore figures in all walks of life : agriculture, industry, trade, the professions and the Service occupations.

    The spirit of active co-operation in all civic and national endeavours between the Jew and his neighbour is well known. He plays his part ori the executive committees of all charitable, social and cultural activities. Specifically in the fields of agriculture and industry has he made great strides, and even in the ambitious scheme of establishing a Rhodesian University we find a co-religionist, Mr. J. F. Kapnek, offering the nucleus, of a fund for such a purpose.


                 (The Guild Hall. Salisbury - erected 1920)


    Within our own sphere of Jewish life the Salisbury Hebrew Congregation continues its work unabated.  The religious, cultural, benevolent and social activities as well as our strong Zionist sentiment continue apace, while the co-operation of our youth with the various organisations is indeed praiseworthy. With a view of co-ordinating all
    Jewish and national efforts in Southern and Northern Rhodesia, the Council for Rhodesian Jewry and the Rhodesian Zionist Council have
    been formed with offices in Salisbury and Bulawayo.

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