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Feinstein Family Collection

  • Collection
  • 2021-

The Feinstein Family Collection gathers photographs and documents inherited by Jessica Feinstein from her grandmother Rose Hurwitz. It includes items from the Hurwitz family (originally Gurvich, from Svencionys) and the Feinstein family (originally from Polangen, Lithuania).

Whenever possible research has been conducted to enrich the information in these collections, if you would like to add any additional information please contact us.

The Allengensky Letters Collection

  • Collection
  • 2014-

This collection of letters from General Dealer David Allengensky of Hermanuspetrusfontein. Mr Allengensky was Proprietor of the Royal Hotel. The letters are about his business dealings, and date between 1898 and 1902. There are many letters addressed to Mr Allengensky regarding supply and demand. The collection also includes two wedding photographs and two portrait photographs. David Allengensky’s father was Adel Allengensky, the first Jew in Hermanus. The collection was donated by David’s granddaughter Minette Minitzer.

Mr David Allengensky’s letterhead reads, “D. Allengensky, General Dealer. Hermanuspetrusfontein. Wholesale and Retail, Worcester. Butcher. Private Carts. &c., &c. Proprietor of the Royal Hotel.” The letterhead also includes a printed etching of the Royal Hotel and a large heading which says, “Hermanuspetrusfontein”.
Mr Allengensky’s letters to the military commandant in Caledon suggests his travelling between Hermanus and Cape Town required special military dispensation. This was because his business was running concurrently with the Anglo-Boer War. In one letter, Mr Allengensky writes, “I will hold myself responsible that nothing takes place there contrary to the martial law regulations.”

The letterheads in this collection, which are more clearly legible than the letters themselves, reveal an interesting narrative of trade and communication between Hermanus and Cape Town, as well as Leeds, England. Some of the businesses are wholesalers like Mr Allengensky. Mr Allengensky dealt predominantly with fish and butchery. Mr Allengensky also had dealings with Alex Cameron & Co., sailmakers, from the corner of St George’s and Waterkant Streets. A letter like this suggests Mr Allengensky owned a boat and did his own fishing.

There is also a letter from Cape Times Limited, confirming the pricing of advertisement.

Receipts are also included in the collection. Cape Town Government Railways provided the receipts for transportation of goods from Cape Town to Hermanus.

Mr Allengensky was a goods dealer during the Anglo-Boer War, and required special military dispensation to travel through areas which were under martial law. The letters, each with a uniquely printed letterhead, tell a story of business ventures with dealings at the turn of the century going as steadily as technology and politics would allow.

Whenever possible research has been conducted to enrich collections. If you have anything to add please contact us.

The Finkelstein Letters Collection

  • Collection
  • YYYY-

The Finkelstein Collection of letters includes correspondence between fashion designer Arnold Finkelstein when he was a student and his parents from the early 1950s. Arnold Finkelstein received a bursary to study fashion design in London, England in 1952. This collection is of particular interest to SAJM as it was discovered in a box at Milnerton Flea Market. A treasure such as this is valued greatly by SAJM. The Finkelstein Collection of letters includes correspondence between fashion designer Arnold Finkelstein when he was a student and his parents from the early 1950s. Arnold Finkelstein received a bursary to study fashion design in London, England in 1952. This collection is of particular interest to SAJM as it was discovered in a box at Milnerton Flea Market. A treasure such as this is valued greatly by SAJM. Reading through these letters uncovers insight into the fashion design industry of the 1950s, as well as historic evidence of culture and communication between London and Cape Town.

Arnold Finkelstein is known for being a prolific fashion designer in the 1950s and 1960s. During his bursary in London he wrote many letters to his parents. There are also letters to and from close family friends. Mr Finkelstein begins his letters to his parents by sharing “wonderful news”. He met with Mr Brian Hart of the London fashion industry and was to be staying with Mr Hart and his wife. This news was received very positively by folks back home, and Arnold’s mother immediately thought to ask, “Is Brian Hart Jewish?” Arnold did not yet know the answer but was thrilled nonetheless to be boarding with such an esteemed member of the industry.

Arnold was told by his college principal the course he had taken was very difficult and he would have to work like a bomb. Arnold Finkelstein made a prolific success of his career in Cape Town, and one can only deduce he must have worked hard and successfully during his time in London.
Speaking of bombs, Arnold shared with his parents the Great Synagogue Orthodox of London was bombed during World War Two in the Blitz, and the community would not rebuild it. Arnold also travelled briefly to Paris, France, as well as Copenhagen, Denmark and Goteborg, Sweden. During his time in Copenhagen he experienced anti-Semitism and felt miserable, and so quickly made his way back to London. As a result he almost cancelled his trip to Sweden, but ended up going, due to the demands of his father, and in fact had a wonderful time there.

Many of the letters of correspondence with Arnold’s parents share news of Arnold’s ailing health in London. He repeatedly writes of visits to the doctor, or taking new medication. Other letters relate to money being sent by his parents, or dealings with the bank. Arnold’s parents sent parcels of food as gifts to the Hart family for hosting Arnold, and they were thanked tremendously in more letters from Brian Hart’s wife to the Finkelstein family.

Some of the letters are written between Arnold and his friends in Cape Town. These friends were also in the fashion industry, or they were close acquaintances of the Finkelstein family. These letters also speak of poor health both in London and in Cape Town. Some of the letters share news of relationships and weddings happening in Cape Town, but Arnold does not reveal any news about his relationships in London, other than he had a terrible time one night at a lowdown night club. There is also mention of a girl who Arnold had dinner with one night, and who insisted on paying for herself, although it seems Arnold saw more of her on Television Ballet than a continued relationship. Arnold’s acquaintance Ronnie introduced Arnold to several high profile English actors such as Richard Attenborough, George Formby and Walter Fitzgerald.

Whenever possible research has been conducted to enrich these collections. If you have anything to add please contact us.

The South African Jewish Chronicle clippings Collection

  • Collection
  • 2013

This Collection consists of twenty consecutive pages from one Issue of the South African Jewish Chronicle (SAJC), one of the newspapers aimed at a Jewish readership in South Africa around the beginning of the 20th century. This is specifically from the Johannesburg circulation of this newspaper, which is where the largest proportion of Eastern European (especially Lithuanian) Jewish immigrants settled. These pages - numbered 1062 to 1081 - consist of fifteen pages of articles and snippets from articles, and five pages of pre-paid advertisments, taken from Volume IV, Issue 65 of the New Series of the SAJC. This specific issue was distributed on the 29th of December, 1911, meaning that is one of the earlier Editions of this newspaper, reflecting the newsworthy content for South African Jews in the period before World War I.

Each item represents one page from this Issue of the newspaper, with multiple articles or advertisments on each page. While these page numbers are in the early thousands, it should be noted that it is characteristic of this newspaper to continue with the previous Issue's last page number as the precursor to the first page of the next Issue. The item descriptions aim to capture what the main highlights of that page are and what attitudes and norms are portrayed by these pages.

The SAJC was a weekly newspaper that was established in 1902 in Cape Town as an offshoot of the London Jewish Chronicle, later transferring to Johannesburg in 1905.

It is believed that these pages were preserved as they are a full Issue of the SAJC, from the first page to the back page. The Issue progresses from a Publisher's Notice, to other adminstrative details at the beginning of the Issue, to current affairs, a recurring theme of addressing and combatting anti-Semitism, promotion of Jewishness, a social & fashion section, Jewish Diaspora news, provincial/local news, arts & culture updates, political questions, opinion pieces, fiction writing, mining & financial news, and ending off with pre-paid advertisments.

Some notable examples in this Issue of Anglo-Jewish undertones, representing the general theme throughout the SAJC newspapers, can be found in articles specifically about charities that support British colonies, reporting on media and theatre that the King and Queen approve of or commend, and most notably the article about a former British Prime Minister (Benjamin Disraeli) as part of the longest article in the Issue.