=> Home -> Families -> Hanan, Leon
  • Abrahamson Family
  • Abrahamson, Leizer -107th Birthday
  • Alhadeff Brothers
  • Alhadeff, Solly & Stella
  • Alphabetical index of Family biographies
  • Anolick Family
  • Audio Visual Biographies
  • Audio Visual biographies Part 2
  • Audio Visual biographies Part 3
  • Baldachin Family (with photos)
  • Baron Family
  • Baron, Rachel
  • Benatar, Nick
  • Bloom Family (with photos)
  • Charney Family
  • Cohen, Hymie and Hilda
  • Gelfand, Bennie
  • Gelfand, Michael
  • Goldberg Family
  • Goldberg, Isaac (Kwekwe)
  • Gordon Family
  • Grill Family
  • Grossman, Clive
  • Haimovitz, Aryeh
  • Hanan, Leon
  • Harris Family
  • Hasson Family
  • Hatchuel Family
  • Jacobs Family
  • Jacobson Tamar (nee Israel)
  • Kamionsky Family (with photos)
  • Kaplan, Haig and Eva
  • Katz Family
  • Katz, Barney
  • Lasovsky, Isaac
  • Lazarus Family
  • Leon, Adolph
  • Leon, BS
  • Lessem Family
  • Levin, Norman and Rosemary
  • Levin, Solly
  • Levy, Henry
  • Lewis Family
  • Mayo, Leon
  • Menashe, A I
  • Menashe, RJ
  • Meyer, Eddy and Liesel (with photos)
  • Naim, Babs and Al
  • Newfield Family
  • Paul Family
  • Pelham
  • Pollack Family
  • Reiff Family
  • Rosin, Muriel
  • Savyon Lodge
  • Schattil, Joseph
  • Short biographies Album 1
  • Short biographies album 2
  • Taub Family
  • Tobias Family (with photos)
  • Truman Family
  • Weber Family
  • Wiesenbacher family
  • Witz Family
    Whats new
    ZJC Project Presentation
    In this video Dave Bloom describes in a webinar conference called Community History Online (CHOL) held 11th August 2021, the work done to preserve the story of the ZJC.. Learn More...

    A brief history of the ZJC
    Watch this recording of a presentation given to a Synagogue in Toronto on 1st August 2021 - on the history of the Zimbabwe and Zambian Jewish Communities.. Learn More...

    Geolocation of ZJC homes in Harare and Bulawayo
    A new project has been launched to map the homes of former ZJC homes in Harare and Bulawayo. Please use the link on the page to an online form to add your own details.. Learn More...

    Latest Warren Hills tombstones - 28th June 2021
    See images of the latest Warren Hills tombstones and members of the HHC at the consecration.. Learn More...

    ZJC Reunion 13th June 2021
    Over 300 people registered for the Ndaba and you can see a full recording of the event on this page.. Learn More...

    An African Trading Empire
    Dec 13 2019 - A new page on the site with text from the first chapter of this fascinating book recording the story of the Susman brothers and Wulfsohn who created a farming and commercial empire in Southern Africa.. Learn More...

    Additional Ketuboth added
    December 2016 - ZJC has gratefully received from Colin Gordon some missing Ketuboth from the period 1956-1959 which have now been added to the website. . Learn More...

    Audio Visual biographies
    December 2016 - ZJC is pleased to publish a number of audio visual biographies of former members of the community.. Learn More...

    Bulawayo Hebrew Congregation committees
    July 6, 2016 - We have added two comprehensive documents prepared by David Gelfand and listing a) the numerous committees of the Bulawayo Hebrew Congregation going back to 1923. b) a list of all the Presidents of the Bulawayo Hebrew Congregation going back to 1894.. Learn More...

    Bulawayo Hebrew Congregation - full copy
    June 2016 - Pleased to advise that Paul Bernstein has scanned the full Bulawayo Hebrew Congregation Centenary magazine published in 1994. It is now available on the ZJC website. Many many thanks to Paul for all his efforts and contribution in digitizing this material and preserving it for us all. There is a summary of the contents of each section. See the material here.. Learn More...

    Quick Search

    powered by

                                                    Leon Hanan

    By Benny Leon

     Mr. Leon Hanan, Assitant Gabbai and a dedicated member of the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation of Zimbabwe, celebrated his eightieth birthday amidst family and friends in October, 2000

     Leon Hanan was born in Rhodes Island in 1920, and was the second youngest of a family of eight, one of which died in infancy.  It was a large family of five brothers and two sisters.  The youngest brother together with his parents perished in Auschwitz.  At an early age he wanted to become a rabbi, but was unsuccessful in obtaining a bursary to study.  Later on he regarded this as a blessing in disguise otherwise he may have perished in Auschwitz.

     He remembers playing the trumpet in  a band in his youth and would team up with the Italians in parades.  There was friendship and trust with the Italians, until 1938, when the governor of Rhodes was replaced with an anti-Semetic fascist.   Anti-Semitic articles began to appear on the front pages of newspapers.

     His father Musani (Maurice) Hanan was a very enterprising man, who made wooden clogs, violins and Shofars.  Of note, is that the Shofar used in the synagogue on high festivals, was made by his father and is thought to be 100 years old!  His grandfather Joseph, later changed his name to   Mercado Hanan, was wealthy and built the Hanan Synagogue in Rhodes for the poorer section of the community who could not afford to attend the other synagogues.  (There were six synagogues in Rhodes).

     Leon Hanan saw no future in Rhodes, and contacted his elder brothers Jack and Joe, who had left for Southern Rhodesia in 1924, when Mr. B. S. Leon, a first cousin, to his mother Miriam Leon, had brought them out from Rhodes.

     The Hanan Brothers had trading stores and a farm in the Hartley (Chegutu) area.  When the young Leon Hanan, aged eighteen, arrived in 1938, he was given a store to run in the Mondoro reserve.  He was the only white person  in the area, and  served there for six years.  Like so many others of his countrymen, he slept on the store counter and used blankets from the shelves.  Food at one time was a problem, until he bought a few chickens, which in time multiplied to a fifty in number. He also had a supply of eggs.  He remembers that the chickens were free to forage for themselves, and were well fed from the seeds and grains that spilled from stocks of mealie meal and grain that came in and out of the shop.  Life was very simple in those days. Often a stock of blankets was left outside on the verandah day and night.  Neither the chickens nor the blankets went missing!

     He had a visit from the native commissioner, and was very embarrassed because he could speak neither Shona nor English.  Later on in private, the commissioner conversed with him in Chilapalapa.  Soon after that Leon Hanan purchased a book from a near by school.  It had sixty words of Shona and English and illustrated with drawings.  He learnt the basic words of  the two languages.  During weekends he would drive to the farm near Hartley to see his brothers.  In 1945, he moved to Hartley (Chegutu), and became manager running the family stores.

     Later, in 1952, he moved to Salisbury, and together with his brother Albert, opened a store in Charter Road.  As the years went by they opened a soap factory, and later a sweet factory.  In 1960, they purchased a property in Pioneer Street (Kaguvi Street).

     In 1953, he married Rachel Hougnu, who had just arrived in the country after surviving the ordeal and horrors of Auschwitz.  They have two married sons, Maurice and Ronnie, who live in Johannesburg.

     Assistant Gabbai  Leon Hanan, a humble man with a strong singing voice founded the Sephardi Choir.  Their first performance was at the corner stone laying ceremony of the synagogue in 1957.  Over the years it flourished until a rabbi, of another congregation, declared that females were not allowed to participate, and numbers were reduced.  In recent years the choir has ceased to exist.

     Leon Hanan, at the age of 80, is the only surviving brother.  He has a sister Ester   Arenson in Harare, and another sister Rosa, who married Joe Mallel, who live in Rome.

    Contact Us | Site Map