By Robin Lee
When the settlement at Hermanuspietersfontein was not yet 40 years old, the first Jewish family arrived. This was the Allengensky family that later shortened its name to Allen. They were followed within two years by the Oblowitz family.
By the time the first comprehensive histories were being written in the early 21st century, there were records of over 30 Jewish families who had lived or were at the time living in Hermanus. Many members of these families are buried in the Jewish cemetery in the town.
My presentation gives brief details of prominent members of some of these Jewish families and then focuses on the history of the first two families: Allen and Oblowitz. Both families originated in Eastern Europe and came to South Africa to escape oppression in the then Russian Empire. I follow their histories in Hermanus and beyond from about 1880 to the present.
This part of the presentation is illustrated with many historical photographs.
The Oblowitz family’s history is introduced through a unique video recording of an interview with Sydney Oblowitz. He was born in Hermanus in 1915, lived here for some years, acquired property here, returned after involvement in World War II and the Israeli War of Independence and was active here in the 1960s to 1980s. The interview was recorded in 2010 when Sydney was 95 years of age. He passed away in 2015.
YOU TUBE LINK: and can be viewed at https://youtu.be/a62LNpKK1Dw